Michigan wedding venue tells gay couple to go elsewhere

BLENDON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A West Michigan TV station reports that a wedding venue in Ottawa County is telling a gay couple to look elsewhere to hold their ceremony.

WOOD-TV reported that Post Family Farm says it isn’t turning same-sex couples away, but it won’t offer them the services that opposite-sex couples receive.

Estefanie Echevarria and Aubrey VandenBosch told the TV station that the venue told them that the couple should find another location.

“That was the first place that I openly said, ‘We are two women and we respect everyone’s beliefs and we want everyone to be comfortable.’ And they send back a reply of basically, ‘We don’t support same-sex marriage and we think you should find someplace else.’ Everything they could to not say no,” VandenBosch told WOOD-TV. “Oh, it hurt, it stung.”

The couple did find another location to hold their wedding.

Post Family Farm sent this statement to WOOD-TV:

“Post Family Farm is owned and operated by the Post Family and their employees in West Michigan. We enjoy fulfilling our motto, “An 80 Acre Reminder of Life’s Simple Pleasures” in the context of our small-town community. Weddings are one of the services that our Farm provides for the people in our community and we feel so privileged to play a role in one of the most significant days in people’s lives. In full disclosure, our family holds a traditional view of marriage, which we believe to be a sacred covenant between one man and one woman. If you have a different view of marriage, we respect you and your right to your own beliefs and actions accordingly. In spite of the potential differing views of marriage that we may hold, we will not limit the use of our venue to exclusively traditional marriages. We will offer the same professional, courteous, non-discriminatory service to anyone, regardless of race, religion, sex, age, or disability. That being said, much of our service is very personal and before reserving our venue, we would encourage you to 1) determine if your awareness of our view on marriage will dampen your wedding celebration and 2) consider providing your own wedding coordinator for the day of your event. Serving as a wedding coordinator is a very personal service that we offer as an option to brides and grooms, but a role that might be much better filled by someone who has experience with non-traditional weddings. If you choose to provide your own wedding coordinator, our professional services will still be offered to include such activities as the set-up and tear-down of the event.”

Larry DeShane of the Grand Rapids Pride Center said the organization was saddened to hear the couple had been turned away.

“The Grand Rapids Pride Center is saddened by the lack of understanding, acceptance of same-gender and other LGBTQ community members, and the love they rightly want to openly celebrate by this venue,” DeShane told the Den. We live in a world of free speech and appreciate that they used theirs to warn lovers of equity and equality to not support their business.”

DeShane also said that the Pride Center does have a directory of inclusive businesses on their website or by calling 616-458-3511.