South African events centre refuses to host wedding ceremony for lesbian couple
London, Jan. 20, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The decision of an events centre in South African to host a wedding reception for a lesbian couple is generating heated media debate in the country
Now a religious lobby group in the country has backed the owners of the popular wedding venue on the ground of religion
Michael Swain from Freedom of Religion South Africa, who represents Beloftebos Wedding Venue in the West Cape province, argued the owners had a religious right to turn away the couple.
“Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion,” was the defence offered by Beloftesbos, near Hermanus, for not hosting same-sex wedding ceremonies.
Social media furore over venue’s refusal to host lesbian couple’s wedding ceremony— SA News Of Interest (@SA_NewsInterest) January 18, 2020
Sasha-Lee Heekes and fiancée Megan Watling have taken their grievance against Beloftebos to the SAHRC, and Facebook users have joined the furore….https://t.co/pEmPrKqEXj
Megan Watling and Sasha-Lee Heekes said their rights had been violated and that they felt disappointed and heartbroken by the decision.
“Sexual orientation isn’t a choice, my only choice is living authentically and loving my soulmate,” Ms Heekes is quoted as saying by EWN news site.
The couple had inquired about holding a celebration in April at the venue but got a response last week referring them to Beloftebos’ website, which outlines the owners’ beliefs on same-sex relationships, EWN reports.
The owners faced a backlash in 2017 for refusing to host a same-sex wedding for an American couple.
Supporters of Ms Waiting and Ms Heekes on social media have started an online petition which has attracted over 300 signatures to get South Africa’s Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to intervene.
Same-sex relations are legal in South Africa and protected in the constitution.
The country was the first in Africa to protect people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation