Discrimination | Fort Worth | Gay Marriage | Texas

Texas Wedding Venue Refuses Gay Men


An anti-gay banquet facility in Texas has refused two men who wished to have their wedding reception at the venue. Ben Allen and Justin Hudgins, who have been together for eight years, plan to marry in Mexico in April. They also intended to hold a local reception for friends and family at the All Occasion Party Place located just outside of Fort Worth - that is until the owner told them she doesn't conduct business with gays.

KVUE reports on the refusal of service:

“She immediately responded with, ‘Well, no, I don’t do that,’ and that was just the end of that,” Allen said. “It felt like somebody had just hit me in the face.” But Allen said he was told by phone and by e-mail the business won’t serve gays.

“It is because of God that I will not be a part in your reception, and I know he loves you, but not what you are doing,” an employee at the hall, Robin Hearne, wrote to Hudgins in an e-mail he provided to WFAA. “I simply said I can not rent to you which is also my right.”

While the All Occasion Party Place has a Fort Worth address, it is apparently located just outside of the city limits. This prevents the application of Fort Worth's anti-discrimination laws. Allen and Hudgins are looking for an alternate location for their wedding reception.

Watch the KVUE news clip, AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. @ UFFDA

    Gay business owners do in fact enable services to many types of people, including religious, including even some people who may be against gay rights. Happens every day. You just don't like the idea of those same religious people extending that same level of freedom and rights to gay people. I see this issue going to SCOTUS within the near future, maybe during Hilary's term, and sexual orientation being deemed a protected class. If you can't be denied services based on your religious beliefs, I shouldn't be based on who I love. Simple as that.

    Posted by: Marcus | Feb 23, 2013 6:42:54 PM

  2. OK that was a help. Thank you. The ones who claim that I am a troll for asking the questions I have are hysterical children unworthy of response. But both HUGH and SCOTT JOHANSON have understood and answered my question, and M has the best answer: a law that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation. That would take care of it.

    Personally though I would have a very hard time permitting Westboro anywhere near me or my business. They would not be welcome and I would apparently be in trouble with the law.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Feb 23, 2013 6:51:05 PM

  3. In our city, non discrimination laws prohibit a public establishment to discriminate on the basis of someone being gay, or religious.

    That means a gay couple minding their own business and not hurting anyone would legally be allowed to shop, buy flowers, a cake, and enter any venue they wish, so long as they act accordingly and exchange funds.

    Same story with a religious group. They could go to any gay bar, or gay owned restaurant and pray, pay, eat, dine.

    That's called a free society. NOT one where one demographic is entitled to more rights & freedoms than another.

    Posted by: So Cal Dude | Feb 23, 2013 6:51:06 PM

  4. I guess I can answer this. I own an event (and catering) venue much like this. Once in the past, I did have a local Church; very anti gay church, want to have a reception for one of their prominent members at our venue.

    To those asking "well, would a gay venue want to have an anti gay group at their place of business?" While yes, gay people do it all the time. In many regions we're forced to do it, and have absolutely no choice. And also, I took the big check for food and venue that Church gave me and you want to know what I did with the thousands & thousands of dollars? After paying my staff, I donated a big hefty check to the Trevor Project. An organization that seeks to help the helpless and hopeless gay youth in our country. I took their money and donated it to our cause.

    That for me is my ideal USA. Where I exchange goods with someone I don't agree with in values, yet take their money and donate it to my cause. I don't discriminate based on who they are, nor should religious people outside a church run facility be allowed to discriminate against us based on who we are.

    For me, it's a very simple concept and one I hope is recognized on a federal level in the future.

    Posted by: Mizzou Muttigers | Feb 23, 2013 6:59:20 PM

  5. MIZZOU MUTTIGERS: Thank you for grasping what soem seem to fail. You perfectly understand what a free society is. A religious couple is not forced to drive hundreds of miles to find a place that will furnish them, that would be illegal. A gay couple shouldn't have to either.

    Posted by: Steve-ATL | Feb 23, 2013 7:27:11 PM

  6. While I can sort of understand the argument of 'why would you want to spend your money with bigots' ....that's a short sighted perspective, and fails to see the big picture in stories like this. If we allowed every business owner who is prejudice to practice their prejudice in their place of business, a muslim person wouldn't be allowed to buy a soda at a kosher deli. A female wouldn't be allowed to work at many gyms or swim in many swimming pools in many places. Hispanic kids wouldn't be allowed in some day care programs. Those things are all illegal. People are entitled to dislike said groups, but not reject them based on their core being. Why should is be any different for gay people? It shouldn't.

    Posted by: Miguel | Feb 23, 2013 7:31:28 PM

  7. Thanks again for all the helpful thinking, especially from the business people.

    If the Westboro people come to my establishment I will leave for the day and let my employees take care of them. So far it's the best I can do when what I want to do is...well, unmentionable.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Feb 23, 2013 7:55:49 PM

  8. @ Lelo :

    Agreed ! I have adopted Little Kiwi's New Year resolution re trolls.
    He knows and we know who they are.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Feb 23, 2013 8:00:02 PM

  9. I am sorry but this couple is being dumb. Me and my boyfriend are getting married in downtown Fort Worth in May and you have to be aware that you live in the south. Yes, it shouldn't matter to the owner but why would you be willing to give your money to someone who hates you? There are plenty of affordable gay friendly, venues, bakers, caterers, and other vendors. We have found no problem finding everything we want for our wedding. One of the many places we looked was 809 vickery. If you happen to be reading this it really is perfect if you are just looking for a banquet hall, they are gay friendly, and very affordable.

    Posted by: Stephen K | Feb 23, 2013 8:09:44 PM

  10. Take your gay money elsewhere and let these bigots loose money ( by the way I wouldn't mind marrying the reporter...)

    Posted by: jaragon | Feb 23, 2013 8:26:32 PM

  11. @UFFDA In the unlikely event I owned a banquet hall and the even more unlikely event that the lunatic Phelps klan wanted to book their lunatic wedding there, I would greet them kindly under my rainbow flag while holding the hand of my husband and ushering them in past the homoerotic art and books till they arrived at the hot tub full of naked men. That would be true hospitality. Then, they could stay and enjoy it with their lunatic guests, or they could cause a ruckus and be tossed out. When your state has laws so that every person is welcome in every business, it doesn't mean your business has to pretend to be something it's not. And business owners can say if they think their venue is not right for you and then let you decide if you want these people to get your money -- that's different than hanging out the NO ---- ALLOWED sign.

    And, yes, well said SCOTT JOHANSON--that's what it's all about.

    Posted by: Ernie | Feb 23, 2013 8:29:50 PM

  12. If a latino, Jewish, interracial, Christian couple can freely rent out from a ballroom and not be discriminated based on who they are, then so too should a gay couple be allowed to do the same. Anything otherwise is for the practicing of a modern day segregation and completely violates civil rights for some. Your dislike of me shouldn't affect me being able to buy water from you, or use for reception hall for my event.

    Equality for all should be for all.

    Posted by: MiMi | Feb 23, 2013 9:14:33 PM

  13. Scott Johansen and MIZZOU MUTTIGERS summed this up perfectly and seemed to understand the big picture here.

    Those saying, just go elsewhere are really choosing to be ignorant at the topic at hand. Truly

    Posted by: Cool MC | Feb 23, 2013 9:17:30 PM

  14. Should black people also go somewhere where they'll be allowed? or how about places that don't like Jewish people, should they also just find establishments that allow Jews inside?

    Ridiculous. I guess some of us are just not complacent about discrimination in any form, but some seem perfectly okay with discrimination so long as the target is gay people. Don't expect every gay person to be so accomodating to bigotry.

    Posted by: Marcus | Feb 23, 2013 9:19:06 PM

  15. If people were allowed to deny services to anyone they didn't like, this country would be utter chaos.
    So cut the "just go find a place that accepts your lifestyle" bull sh-t. I don't accept the religious lifestyle yet last I checked, I STILL have to serve a religious person, in their religious gear, while they hold a religious text, and even when they are mouthing off religious sermons.

    Federal clause that protects sexuality. And soon!

    Posted by: J. Mendoza | Feb 23, 2013 9:21:38 PM

  16. The point isn't wanting to give your money to bigots. Yes, now no gay couple in their right mind would go to this venue. The point is that gay couples, just living their lives, shouldn't have to fear being rejected from basic goods for things their heterosexual counterparts enjoy. They shouldn't have to fear doing research on which places they are allowed in and which they aren't. They shouldn't have to get an approval on an HRC website as to which business they can walk into and which they're not welcomed. When every other creed and type can walk and go where they please.

    I'm black and I know every day racist POS take my money. Do I care? Nah. I give them my money, they give me their product, we go on about our lives. If I had to be reminded of every person who's racist and doesn't want me to step foot in their business, that would be demoralizing and go against everything this country should stand for. No different than gay people. We shouldn't be rejected then reprimanded for what we do in the privacy of our bedroom, when we want to go buy some flowers with our boyfriend.

    Posted by: Music4Life | Feb 23, 2013 9:27:59 PM

  17. Just the notion of 'gay friendly' and strictly going to 'gay friendly' places and not challenging those who practice prejudice, and essentially 'ghetto-ing' your life in a corner of 'gay friendly' completely defeats the purpose of equality. Being mainstream, and engaging those who practice bigotry is far more effective than googling and dining at only gay owned restaurants. If LGBT pioneers before us sought out only 'gay friendly' people to surround themselves with, and didn't challenge homophobic status quo....we'd all be living in San Francisco, and wouldn't have any licenses, much less a marriage license. Learn to realize your same sex relationship is no less worthy of rights than any other.

    Posted by: my 2 cents | Feb 23, 2013 9:33:31 PM

  18. ERNIE - that was funny. What a wonderful approach. I'm putting up my porn faves right now and baking penis cookies for my Westboro guests. On the house.
    Thank you.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Feb 23, 2013 9:50:01 PM

  19. OK, I commented on the first page and said, "I'd rather know that and NOT give her any money." And that still stands true.

    However, in light of the many comments here I'd also like to add that a business that serves the public shouldn't be able to deny services to gays or anyone else. I spoke hastily, without thinking through the full implications.

    I'd encourage any gay person or ally to support businesses that in turn support us, to the best of your ability. But you don't always know and maybe in your area that isn't possible. In that case, refer back to paragraph 2.

    Posted by: Caliban | Feb 23, 2013 10:08:15 PM

  20. No, we as heterosexuals DON'T have to allow gays in our businesses. You chose to be gay- not us. We don't have to expose out kids to your lifestyle in our business.

    You all have your own gayberhoods in every town. You want to be gay and eat at a restaurant or with your "husbands" go stay in your own areas of town! We don't have to accept you inside our buildings.
    And I'm so proud of this reception hall. Go Texas!!

    Posted by: Alejandro | Feb 23, 2013 10:09:36 PM

  21. And let me make another point very clear to you, the gays. Don't compare religion to homosexuality. Religious people can enter any place we wish without being discriminated against thanks to a supreme court ruling that realizes the persecution religious people faced throughout history. They ruled in favor of MORALITY. And guess what? There's no single supreme court ruling that forces any business to allow gay people inside it's doors. So don't dare twist this. We have morality, but more importantly, THE LAW on our side.

    Posted by: Alejandro | Feb 23, 2013 10:16:09 PM

  22. May your God bless you ALEJANDRO. Because the real God smiles indulgently at just how lost and hopeless you are while ignorantly living among perfectly decent gay people all the time everywhere. Muah...my ass.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Feb 23, 2013 10:27:50 PM

  23. You're full of sh*t, Alejandro. But you're right about one thing, no one should ever compare religion with being gay. Because religion IS a choice! Why not switch religions? People do it EVERY day or drop it altogether! People go door to door to ask you to CHOOSE their religion over all the others. If you had been switched at the hospital with a Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, or Buddhist baby that's what YOU'D be, never missing the religion of your parents.

    So shove it. People are sick and tired of hearing people like you moan ON and ON about your ancient texts, which YOU don't even follow yourself! You're nothing but a self-righteous hypocrite who picks through an old book for rules instead of actual ethics or morals. People like you make me sick.

    Posted by: Caliban | Feb 23, 2013 11:29:36 PM

  24. First of all, the gay movement in Texas needs to step it up and start fighting more for equal rights.

    Second of all, those of us not in Texas should refuse to spend our tourism dollars there (or in any overwhelmingly anti-gay place) if they don't want to treat us with respect. I would expect this type of stuff in some backwards craphole like Mississipi or Alabama, but with big cities like Dallas, Houston, and Austin, Texas is modern enough to know that this discrimination is unacceptable.

    Posted by: Diana | Feb 24, 2013 1:01:45 AM

  25. Brilliant CALIBAN. Alejandro will have no answer because he'swrong/mistaken/confused/irrational and intemperate - therefore altogether disreputable. No one considers or respects the opinions of a disreputable man.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Feb 24, 2013 1:03:28 AM

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