A venue in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is refusing to host a same-sex couple’s wedding celebration due to its “Christian values.”
On December 19th, Brianna May posted to Facebook an email that had been sent to her fiancee Kasey Mayfield from the Warehouse on Ivy.
“As we would love to have you at our venue,” the email said, “unfortunately we do not host same sex marriage ceremonies. We do appreciate you considering us.”
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In a statement to The Herald Online, the venue doubled down on its position: “We will allow anyone of any color, race, religion or belief to use our venue at any given time. Although we love and respect everyone in our community, there [sic] own decision making and beliefs, we also strongly believe in our christian values.”
May’s post sparked outrage across the Internet and has been shared and commented on over a thousand times. Many people began leaving negative reviews for the venue in solidarity. This led Yelp to temporarily disable all reviews, citing “unusual activity.”
“This business recently received increased public attention, which often means people come to this page to post their views on the news rather than actual consumer experiences with the business,” says the venue’s Yelp page. “We’ve temporarily disabled the posting of content to this page.”
Many commenters on May’s post also accused the Warehouse on Ivy of deleting their comments and ratings from Google. The Warehouse on Ivy also appears to have deleted its Facebook page.
In North Carolina, the actions of the Warehouse on Ivy are legal. It is one of 27 states with no explicit statewide anti-discrimination laws that protect the LGBTQ community.
There has been a glimmer of hope for LGBTQ people in the state, as December 1st marked the expiration of a 2016 law that explicitly forbade municipalities from implementing their own nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
On Facebook, Mayfield responded to the many people who commented in support of the couple, writing: “Brianna and I would like to thank everyone who had kind and supportive words for us!”
“To everyone with recommendations, we can’t wait to look through them and continue planning our wedding and share them with other queer couples facing the same obstacles. And the wonderful vendors offering us discounted or free services, we are so so grateful!”
Mayfield went on to encourage those who were angry to write their local legislators demanding LGBTQ discrimination protections. She also provided links to some of the couple’s favorite nonprofits to donate to, including Equality North Carolina and Pride Winston-Salem.