BOONEVILLE, MISSISSIPPI — When LaKambria Welch found out that the venue they chose to host her brother’s wedding would no longer do so due to the owner’s “beliefs,” she decided to drive to the venue herself to confront the owner and find out why. In a video she filmed of the encounter, she was told that the reason was due to her brother being black and his fiancée being a white woman, Deep South Voice reports.
The woman in the video, who Welch identified as an employee of Boone’s Camp Event Hall, told her that “we don’t do gay weddings or mixed race” weddings due to “our Christian belief.”
“Okay, we’re Christians as well,” Welch replied before asking, “So, what in the Bible tells you that?”
“Well, I don’t want to argue my faith,” the woman said.
Welch then asked the woman to clarify her reasoning.
“Okay. So that’s your Christian belief, right?,” Welch asked.
Speaking to Deep South Voice, Welch said she believes the owner of the venue found out her brother and fiancée’s race by snooping around on Facebook.
“The owner took a look at my brother’s fiancée’s page and wrote her back to say they won’t be able to get married there because of her beliefs,” Welch said. “He told my mom and she contacted the owner through messenger to only get a ‘seen’ with no reply. That’s when I took it upon myself to go get clarification on her beliefs.”
The venue owner’s decision was likely influenced by Mississippi’s “religious freedom” law that was passed by the state Legislature and signed into law in 2016, giving businesses a green light to deny services to LGBT people if it goes against their religious beliefs.
According to the law as cited by DSV, “the state government shall not take any discriminatory action against a religious organization wholly or partially on the basis that such organization … Solemnizes or declines to solemnize any marriage, or provides or declines to provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization, formation, celebration or recognition of any marriage, based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction described in Section 2 of this act…”
Those beliefs are defined as “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions protected by this act are the belief or conviction that: (a) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman; (b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and (c) Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”
As DSV points out, there is no mention of race in the law.
In another viral story from late last month, a Michigan city council candidate said that she didn’t want mixed couples moving into her hometown of Marysville. When asked why, Jean Cramer, who has since dropped out of the race, said that it’s “simply against the bible.”
Update: The event hall’s management has reportedly apologized for the incident, saying that is was the result of a misunderstanding of the bible. In a lengthy Facebook post — which has since been deleted — a person from the venue apologized “for my ignorance in not knowing the truth about this.”
“My intent was never of racism, but to stand firm on what I ‘assumed’ was right concerning marriage.”
In a series of screenshots that were taken before the post was deleted, the person wrote that they had spent the weekend searching the bible and “have come to the conclusion my decision which was based on what I thought was correct to be supported by The Bible was incorrect!”
Featured image via screen grab