South African lesbian couple refused wedding venue
A South African lesbian couple were refused a wedding venue by the exclusive Beloftebos hotel in Cape Town, which left them outraged and heartbroken.
25-year old Megan Watling and 24-year old Sasha-Lee Heekes had wanted to get married after seven years of being together.
However, when they asked the Beloftebos hotel, the owner Coia de Villiers replied in an email that they couldn’t host a gay marriage “in good conscience.”
De Villiers was adamant that the venue does “not host weddings between couples of the same gender.”
Outrage from the South African lesbian couple
The couple was outraged by the hotel’s response, with Watling saying: “At first I cried, but then I was overwhelmed with anger. How, in 2020, is this still a reality?”
“Same-sex marriage has been legal in South Africa since 2006, but yet people still believe that they can justify hate and bigotry and quote a God that I don’t believe would stand for said hate and bigotry,” she said.
She added: “We do not ask that anyone approves or even accepts our love, but we do deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, just like anyone else.”
The two have already brought a complaint to the South Africa Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), which has announced they will take further action on the matter.
This was not the first time an incident like this happened: another lesbian couple was turned down in 2017.
Because of the issue, the South African ruling African National Congress urged a boycott of the venue at the time.
Turning away the South African lesbian couple
However, the hotel was unapologetic with Beloftebos spokesman Michael Swain explaining to CNN that the hotel’s orthodox Christian owners believe that marriage is between “one man and one woman.”
He likewise said the owners are not homophobic but said that: “”LGBT rights do not trump religious rights under South Africa’s constitution.”
“The owners don’t just rent out the venue, they are also actively involved in the arrangement, which they are simply saying they do not believe they can do in good conscience,” he added.
A statement on the hotel’s website was posted: “We, the owners of Beloftebos are Christians who seek to honour and obey God in everything we do, including the way in which we operate our business.
“While the venue is available to people of all race, our Biblical conviction is that marriage is reserved for a life-long commitment between one man and one woman,” it declared.