Pa.: Still Legal to Discriminate, Venue Rejects Lesbian Wedding

In the process of planning her wedding, a woman gets snubbed by a venue simply because she plans to marry her female partner.

BY Michelle Garcia

July 11 2014 12:51 PM ET

The owner of a wedding venue in Pennsylvania says he still has the right to turn away a lesbian couple who want to get married there, even though the state now recognizes marriages for same-sex couples.

Desiree Mark switched her plans to get married in a neighboring state when Pennsylvania established legal marriage equality earlier this year, according to The Times-Tribune of Scranton. After she made inquiries at a handful of Scranton-area venues, the event planner for Inne of the Abingtons told Mark in an email, "Unfortunately, we do not hold same-sex marriages at our facility. I truly do hope you find somewhere that will fulfill all your wedding dreams."

Planner Colleen Killeen told The Times-Tribune that she does not agree with the policy, but owner John O. Antolick enforces it for the North Abington Township venue. He did not respond to a request for comment.

The Inne of the Abingtons has rejected multiple same-sex couples in the past, said John Dawe of the NEPA Rainbow Alliance.

While Pennsylvania now has marriage equality, the state lacks a law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Thirty-four municipalities across the state have some type of pro-LGBT ordinance, including Scranton. Meanwhile, a bill to prohibit such discrimination statewide is still gathering cosponsors in both chambers of the legislature.

"This is the same discrimination we have fought for decades, and the purpose of this legislation is to prevent it,” Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich, a cosponsor, told The Times-Tribune. “Chances are better we will see action on this because of the court decisions, the number of cosponsors, and growing public support.”

In the meantime, Mark and her partner are seeking a different venue for their wedding.

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