Marriage equality has been the law of the land in Arizona for almost exactly one month, but it seems not everyone in the wedding industry is pleased.
Crystal Allen and Kenyata White told the Arizona Republic they were excited to find a "one-stop shop" for their upcoming wedding, and had already begun planning their December ceremony based on the specifications listed at AffordableWeddingMinister.com. But when White emailed Rev. Susan Latimer to confirm details — including the name of her fiancée — she was disappointed to receive this email in reply:
"We are very uncomfortable with same-sex marriage as it is directly against our beliefs," Latimer told the couple via email on Monday. "We would not be a very good fit."
Because Latimer and her husband Al, who own and operate the website, are ordained ministers, they are fully within their legal right to refuse service to the lesbian couple, attorney Brendan Mahoney explained to the Republic. Mahoney co-authored Phoenix's nondiscrimination ordinance, which was enacted in 2013, with standard "religious exemption" language.
As such, the couple will not take legal action, since the refusal of service is technically legal. White and Allen just say they wish the website had been more up-front about the owners' religious convictions.
But the couple's decision to share their story with the media seems to have angered Latimer, who issued a scathing statement via email to the Arizona Republic.
"No matter what I say to you I believe it will be twisted by the media," wrote Latimer. "By the stroke of one federal judge's pen we are being dictated what the state says moral law should be. This goes directly against God's laws and 80% of Arizona voters in 2008."
"There is a war on those who believe in Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit and the Word of God," Latimer's message continued. "Why is my freedom being taken away? I feel same-sex marriage is wrong and have every right to have feelings just like they do. I wouldn't want someone who is opposed to the way I live my life involved in my marriage ceremony in any way."
The Republic notes that Latimer's website, while offering both religious and "civil (non-religious)" ceremonies, does state that the Latimers "believe Jesus loves everyone and the concept he gave is ... Marriage is HOLY and right for one man and one woman."
Watch the Republic's coverage below.