A wedding venue in Boonesville, Mississippi is backtracking after video of the owner saying she canceled a wedding between a mixed race couple because of her "Christian beliefs."
The video, originally posted by LaKambria Welch, the sister of the man whose wedding was abruptly canceled after a week of planning, shows her asking the venue owner what her reasons were for canceling.
The woman offers:
"First of all, we don't do gay weddings or mixed raced (weddings)."
When Welch presses her to explain further, the woman says:
"Because of our Christian race. I mean, our Christian belief."
When Welch responds that her family is also Christian, the woman says she doesn't want to argue her faith, and states:
"We just don't participate. We choose not to."
Welch believes that the owners found her brother and his fiancée though Facebook and canceled once they realized they were different races.
The video was tweeted on Sunday by Ashton Pittman, a journalist for Deep South Voice, and quickly went viral:
NEW: A Mississippi venue allegedly cancelled a couple's wedding plans after discovering the couple was a black man… https://t.co/qoBIWiOwFi— Ashton Pittman (@Ashton Pittman) 1567368411.0
No 'Mixed' or 'Gay' Couples, Mississippi Wedding Venue Manager Says on Videowww.youtube.com
Pittman notes that the venue's move comes after the Mississippi Legislature passed a "religious freedom" law in 2016.
But while the law gives venues the right to discriminate against LGBT couples, interracial couples are supposedly protected by federal law.
It may be the case that, under Mississippi law, this wedding venue does have the right to discriminate against LGBT… https://t.co/HB4oF6sV4G— Ashton Pittman (@Ashton Pittman) 1567369848.0
Another woman, Katelynn Springsteen, also said she had been given the "Christian faith" excuse by the venue back in September of 2018 when she reached out on behalf of a gay couple.
"I was trying to find my best friend, who is lesbian, a wedding venue," she told Deep South Voice.
"I was immediately shot down when I asked if they were okay with a gay wedding."
She shared a screenshot of her Facebook conversation with Boone's Camp Event Hall as well.
A woman told me that this same Mississippi venue turned her down last year when she sought to help find a venue for… https://t.co/uceegk4Djn— Ashton Pittman (@Ashton Pittman) 1567373198.0
Katelynn Springsteen via @ashtonpittman/Twitter
Many were quick to condemn the venue's owners for their ignorant thinking.
@ashtonpittman She didn't want to argue her faith because it's not rooted in the bible, it's rooted in bigoted indoctrination.— Chrissy B 🍀 (@Chrissy B 🍀) 1567394838.0
@AlyceLMiller @ashtonpittman @trcfwtt Talk about Freudian slips.— Richard Sarafan (@Richard Sarafan) 1567375403.0
@ashtonpittman y i k e s i was told by right wingers that racism isn't a thing...— The Equaliser 🍥 (@The Equaliser 🍥) 1567380031.0
@ashtonpittman @shaunking I know this isn’t a new idea. But for real. Like for real for real. Where do they think Jesus came from?— Giorgio Angelini (@Giorgio Angelini) 1567370735.0
@ashtonpittman The next question should have been - where does it say in the Bible that people of different races can't marry?— Karina Emberly (@Karina Emberly) 1567370231.0
After the story went viral, the venue offered an apology in a since-deleted Facebook post.
The owner admitted that:
"As a child growing up in Mississippi our racial boundaries that were unstated were that of staying with your own race. This was never verbally spoken, but it was an understood subject."
After her husband asked her to find the Bible passages about biracial relationships, she couldn't.
Then, after sitting down with her pastor on Sunday night, the owner said:
"I have come to conclusion my decision which was based on what I had thought was correct to be supported by The Bible was incorrect! I have, for many years, stood firm on my Christian faith not knowing that biracial relationships were NEVER mentioned in The Bible!"
Part of the post was screenshot and shared on Facebook before it was deleted.
The City of Boonesville also responded to the backlash with a Facebook post saying that the city does not "condone or approve these types of discriminatory policies."
It is unclear if any legal action will follow, and Boone's Camp Event Hall has yet to comment or release any further statements.
At one time, many states in the United States outlawed interracial marriage. The landmark Supreme Court case of Richard and Mildred Loving, a mixed race married couple from Virginia, versus their home state for the right to have their marriage legally recognized was decided in 1967.
The film Loving, available here, tells their story.
Listen to the first two episodes of George Takei's podcast, 'Oh Myyy Pod!', where we explore the racially charged videos that have taken the internet by storm.
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