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A gay couple who was turned away from a bridal store for reasons of “faith” is hitting back on social media.
On July 8, Julie Ann Samanas, 30, and Shannon Kennedy, 34, visited W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, to purchase Julie’s wedding dress (to match Kennedy’s custom-made tux) for their March 2018 nuptials.
“We arrived for our appointment and were asked to fill out a questionnaire about our budget and the dress, and where it asked for the groom’s name, Julie wrote ‘bride,’” Kennedy, a corrections officer, told Yahoo Style.
According to Kennedy, a saleswoman helping the couple then asked, “Is this for a same-sex wedding?” When Shannon answered yes, the woman replied, “We don’t know if you’ve heard, but we’re Christian and we don’t believe in same-sex marriage. We can’t sell you a dress.”
Stunned, the couple of one year looked at each other. “We were just like, ‘OK…’” says Kennedy. “Then we went to our next dress appointment.”
Later that afternoon, Julie Ann posted about the experience on Facebook. “I’ll gladly take my money somewhere else, when a business won’t allow you to try on wedding dresses simply because you’re gay,” she wrote, tagging the bridal store.
The post received hundreds of comments and many called the incident “unacceptable” and discriminatory.
W.W. Bridal Boutique co-owner Victoria Miller did not return Yahoo Style’s request for comment. But according to Philadelphia Gay News, the store posted and then deleted the following message: “The owners of W.W. Bridal Boutique reserve the rights afforded to them by the First Amendment of the Constitution to live out our lives according to our faith. ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ We will continue to serve our customers based on the tenets of our faith.”
This is the second time that W.W. Bridal Boutique has been involved in a discrimination incident, according to PGN. The site reports that in 2014, the owners refused to give an appointment to a lesbian couple, sparking the Bloomsburg town council to propose an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance, which ultimately did not pass.
However, Samanas and Kennedy refuse to let the negative experience ruin their search for the perfect wedding dress. “The other bridal stores we’ve visited were awesome,“ says Kennedy. “Now, Julie is narrowing down her choices.”
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