A wedding venue that refused to host same-sex couples is now suing the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
The venue’s demands?
Issue a judgement stating that sexual orientation and gender identity are not part of the state’s civil rights act.
Read on to learn more about this disturbing (yet sadly, not novel) case.
Wedding Venue That Refused To Host Same-Sex Marriage Suing Michigan Department of Civil Rights
This is definitely not the kind of news we want to wake up to, but unfortunately, it happens.
Rouch World, from Sturgis, is currently suing the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, along with the interim director, Mary Engelman.
According to the company, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights doesn’t have the authority to investigate discrimination cases based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Rouch World is a 300-acre venue, suitable for up to 250 people, but apparently, only for those who share the same beliefs as they do. The owners rejected the gay couple because of their religious beliefs.
The Rouch World owners are demanding the court to offer a declaratory judgement, saying that sexual orientation and gender identity are not part of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.
“Our defense is pretty simple. Our Michigan law at least as it currently stands… does not include sexual orientation or gender identity as protected categories,” attorney David Kallman of Kallman Legal Group told Michigan Live.
The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act is supposed to protect the citizens against all kinds of discrimination based on race, religion, age, sex, familial and marital status.
Unfortunately, the wording of the law makes it open to interpretation. It doesn’t specifically use the words “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”
Sadly, it’s not the first time something like this happened. In June 2019, a certain, now closed, bakery refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.
The baker, Jack Phillips, refused to take the couples order for their cake, as it was against his highly religious beliefs, discriminating the couple and violating the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
So far, Melissa and Aaron Klein, the bakers, were forced to pay $130,000 in judgement to the same-sex couple they refused back in 2013.
Definitely not the first and sadly not the last situation like this.
It’s difficult to manage these kinds of situations as long as people continue to use religious beliefs as a way to get around the laws designed to protect LGBTQ couples from discrimination.