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Lesbian Couple Sues After Inn Rejects Wedding Reception

Lesbian Couple Sues After Inn Rejects Wedding Reception

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Two lesbians are suing a resort in Vermont where they had sought to hold their wedding reception, a request turned down due to the "personal feelings" of the owners. Kate Baker and Ming Linsley of New York wanted to have their wedding ceremony at a Buddhist retreat in Vermont and then have their wedding reception at the Wildflower Inn.

Linsley's mother, Channie Peters, received information about the inn from the Vermont Convention Bureau, and contacted the Lyndonville facility to book the reception. However, when the event manager learned that Baker and Linsley are a lesbian couple, Peters was told that due to the innkeepers' "personal feelings," Wildflower does not host "gay receptions," according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the couple in this case.

"I had been so excited to help plan my only daughter's wedding reception, so when the Wildflower Inn told me that my daughter wasn't welcome there, it was like being kicked in the stomach," Peters said. "Someone who didn't even know us was telling me that my daughter wasn't good enough to have her reception at their facility while everyone else who sees the resort's website is welcome."

The state of Vermont prohibits denying access to public accommodations, goods, and services based on sexual orientation. While the law includes exemptions for religious organizations and inns with five or fewer rooms, the Wildflower Inn (a 24-room facility) does not fit either category.

Joshua Block, staff attorney for the ACLU's LGBT Project, added that businesses that provide services to the public, like the Wildflower Inn, can't choose who they want to serve based on a potential customer's race, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

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