Another day, another wedding vendor refusing to serve same-sex couples.
This time, it’s Star Barn Village, located near Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.
Steven Dinnocenti, a retired educator who has attended Star Barn events in the past, recently shared on his social media his outrage upon discovering the venue has a ‘no same-gender weddings’ policy.
“Never again will I step on (their) grounds,” wrote the openly gay married man.
“What one does not know is the blatant discrimination they have towards the LGBTQ community and other individuals that they have written in their Core Values statement,” added Dinnocenti.
He also posted a link to Star Barn’s ‘Core Values’ statement which reads, in part, “We provide marriage-related services as ordained by God’s Word, the Holy Bible, that are consistent with the written truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”
At this writing, Dinnocenti’s post has been shared over 360 times and garnered over 560 comments.
PennLive spoke with the owner of the venue, David Abel, who says he “does not tolerate discrimination against anyone, not in his business or in a public setting.”
“No persons will be discriminated against,” he insisted to PennLive. “However, we ask people to respect that we have core tenants in our faith and our beliefs and we cannot participate in any event that would be in contradiction to those core tenants – one of them being marriage, which has been biblically based for thousands of years as being between a man and a woman.”
He also asserts that religious freedoms are one of the principles under which the United States was founded. “It was also founded as one nation under God not over God,” he said.
But Dinnocenti told PennLive he flips that script. “The bottom line is go back to the Constitution,” he says. “The Bible should not be dictating the rule of the land.”
It’s important to note that Pennsylvania does not have any LGBTQ protections on the books. So, it would seem Mr. Abel is legally allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples.
This highlights, yet again, the need for The Equality Act to be passed in Congress and signed into law. The federal legislation would erase any confusion about refusing services to people based only on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
For now, however, PennLive does point out that another wedding venue, Riverdale Manor and Thyme and Seasons Catering in nearby Lancaster, has seen its same-sex wedding business thrive since marriage equality became the law of the land in 2015.
Maureen Raezer, owner and president of the venue, told PennLive she subscribes to “the principles of inclusive economics.”
In fact, Raezer says she’s stopped doing business with vendors who don’t appreciate her inclusive wedding industry approach.
“I think they see it as they are somehow condoning gay marriage by participating in it,” Raezer said. “I‘m not sure how selling somebody a wedding cake does that. If I sold cookies to someone, why would I care what their sexual orientation was?”
She also believes that diversity is the future of economics. For her, a business model of excluding people “financially makes no sense.”