Ohio Couple Denied by Wedding Venue that Doesn't Believe in Marriage Equality

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday April 16, 2021

Deandra Fairand and Reagan Bowen
Deandra Fairand and Reagan Bowen  (Source:Reagan Bowen/Facebook)

A wedding venue told a couple in Ohio that they could not have their marriage hosted there because they are both women, the New York Daily News reports.

The couple, Reagan Bowen and Deandra Fairand, of Piqua, Ohio, became engaged last September, the article said. They were interested in having their wedding at The Light on the Hill, a venue that promises prospective customers, "We will walk the extra mile. With a charismatic attitude as we serve Christ and you."

But when the brides reached out to the venue, they were turned away. The message they received in response told them exactly why.

"I am sorry, Reagan, because of our Christian beliefs, we do not believe in same-sex marriages at the venue," the message said. "I wanted to respond back to you and be upfront with you."

Bowen called the rejection "disheartening and humiliating," but it didn't alter her confidence in her own faith. "I know that God loves me, and I know that God created everybody," she told local news station WHIO, adding that she had no plans to take legal action.

The story echoes that of North Carolina same-sex couple McCae Henderson and Ike Edwards, who, as previously reported at EDGE, were turned away by wedding venue Highgrove Estate.

The men were told the Highgrove Estate would not accommodate their wedding because the venue has "chosen not to participate in same-sex weddings at this time."

In a statement, the venue clarified that "We believe in the sanctity of marriage as God says in the Bible that marriage is between a man and a woman and we choose to honor Him above what the world decides what marriage should be."

Henderson told local news station ABC 11, "The fact that we don't have access to things other people do is discrimination in my eyes."

"I think everyone has the right to believe what they want to believe to an extent," Henderson went on to say. "I don't think you get to be racist because your religion tells you to be racist. I don't think you get to be homophobic because your religion tells you to be homophobic."

"Although same-sex marriage legal in all states, federal and state civil rights protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity are still lacking, making it legal in areas without protections to deny services based on sexual orientation or gender identity," the earlier EDGE article noted.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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