A New Jersey bridal shop has refused to sell a wedding dress to a lesbian bride-to-be, calling the couple’s pending nuptials an “illegal action.”
Shop owner Donna Saber at “Here Comes The Bride” in Somers Point, N.J. told customer Alix Genter that she wouldn’t work with her because she is gay, and in a voice message, that what Genter was planning is “illegal” and that “we do not participate in any illegal actions,” reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Genter and her partner are planning their “legal” New York wedding ceremony.
In reality, the only illegal action was that of the store.
Like many other states, including California, New York, Illinois, and Colorado, New Jersey bars sexual orientation discrimination in places of public accommodation.
Most statutes define public accommodations as places that are open to the public, such as a business, hotel, entertainment venue, restaurant, and doctor’s office.
Owners, managers and employees of these spaces are generally not permitted to deny, directly or indirectly, any service, benefit or privilege on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation.
Saber has accused Genter of “stirring up drama,” and said that writing the word “partner” — after crossing out “groom” — on her customer-information fact sheet was basically a provocation, evidence of a need “to show that she’s different … They get that way.”
Saber also railed about women who would “experiment” with female relationships because “men can be difficult,” and added that she “sensed” Gerber’s father’s disappointment in her decision to marry a woman. “It’s a lot of drama,” she concluded.
Whether or not the shop will face legal action is unclear, however, but the incident has become a public relations nightmare for the shop.
Since the story broke last week, Here Comes The Bride’s Yelp page has been flooded with negative reviews, rebukes and one-star ratings.