Wedding Venue Under Scrutiny for Refusing Service to Gay Couple - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Wedding Venue Under Scrutiny for Refusing Service to Gay Couple

The Venue at Waterstone turned down Aaron Lucero and Jeff Cannon based on religious beliefs



    Wedding Venue Under Scrutiny After Turning Down Gay Couple

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    A North Texas wedding venue is under scrutiny for refusing to serve a couple based on their sexual orientation.

    The owner of The Venue at Waterstone in Celina told the couple the decision was based on religious beliefs.

    Aaron Lucero and Jeff Cannon got engaged during a European vacation in June 2018.

    They set a date for this November.

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    (Published Wednesday, March 20, 2019)

    "We thought that like a country wedding was just kind of very classy and very Texas, and so that's what we wanted," Cannon said.

    The Venue at Waterstone was exactly what they envisioned.

    They said they were supposed to tour it last Sunday.

    "Then, the night before was when they contacted us and told us that, you know, we were not welcomed there,'" Cannon said.

    In an email, The Venue at Waterstone's owner told the couple he believed marriage "is a representation of the bride of Christ joined to the groom (Christ who is the very God we worship). Given His plan and design for marriage, we dare not veer from His instruction... we are not able to violate our conscience."

    "It's 2019, is this really happening to us? I was kind of shocked," Lucero said.

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    "Before that, we never even thought that we needed to tell people that we were, you know, doing a same-sex wedding. We thought that a wedding is a wedding," Cannon said.

    In Texas, it isn't illegal for businesses to refuse service based on sexual orientation.

    There are anti-discrimination laws on the books, but only in certain, mainly larger, cities., a wedding planning website, has removed The Venue at Waterstone from its list of vendors.

    Since sharing their story online, Lucero and Cannon said they've received support from all over the world.

    The couple is still looking at places to exchange vows and feel the entire ordeal could've been avoided.

    "It's their right to refuse service to us, but if you're going to do that at least just be transparent with your policy and put that on your website," Lucero said.

    In a statement, Lyle Wise, the owner of The Venue at Waterstone said:

    "We are a family of believers. We love all people because Christ first loved us; Jeffrey and Aaron included. We cannot violate the convictions God has placed within us. In love, we would never affirm anyone in something that was to their detriment."

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