The owners of a Mississippi wedding venue that refused to rent to an interracial couple have apologized to the couple.
Mississippi State University student LaKambria Welch on Saturday posted video of her conversation with one of the owners of Boone’s Camp Event Hall in Booneville, Mississippi, after Welch said the business had changed its mind about hosting a wedding for her brother – who, like Welch, is black.
The now viral video that Welch recorded and uploaded to Facebook on Saturday shows an unidentified older white woman explaining that Boone’s owner reserves the right to refuse service to gay and interracial couples.
Welch, 24, said she suspected the hall’s operators had discovered the couple was interracial through Facebook – and she went to confront them in person.
‘First of all, we don’t do gay weddings or mixed race, because of our Christian race… I mean our Christian beliefs,’ the woman says on camera.
‘OK, we’re Christians as well,’ Welch replies. ‘So… what in the Bible tells you that -‘
‘Well, I don’t want to argue my faith,’ the woman interjects. ‘We just don’t participate. We just choose not to.’
Welch asks her: ‘So that’s your Christian belief, right?’ The woman responds, ‘Yes.’
An apology has since been posted on The Boone’s Camp Event Hall Facebook page, apparently by the woman in the video.
The post said, in part, ‘as a child growing up in Mississippi our racial boundaries that were unstated were that of staying with your own race.’
The post continued: ‘My husband asked me to show him in the Bible where it was located as to the content concerning biracial relationships. I studied for a minute and began to think about the history of my learning this and where it came from.’
The author of the Facebook post wrote that she spent Saturday and most of Sunday ‘searching,’ and after a meeting with her pastor, ‘I have come to the conclusion my decision which was based on what I had thought was correct to be supported by the Bible was incorrect.’
Welch told NBC News on Tuesday that she, her brother and his fiancée accept the owner’s apology and that the couple is no longer planning to get married at the venue.
‘I’ve stated that I am a Christian as well,’ Welch said. ‘So, growing up, my grandmother would always tell me to forgive, even without an apology. I’ve always lived by that with everything.’
Welch told NBC that she was upset by the whole episode but ‘knew deep down what the owner meant by her “beliefs.”‘
This isn’t the first time Boone’s has allegedly discriminated against prospective customers based on their race or sexual orientation.
Katelynn Springsteen said the venue also refused to service her lesbian friend and her bride-to-be in September of 2018.
‘I was trying to find my best friend, who is lesbian, a wedding venue. I was immediately shot down when I was asked if they were okay with a gay wedding,’ Springsteen said.
A screenshot provided to Deep Voice South shows Boone’s sending Springsteen a list of prices for its wedding services, but changing its stance after Springsteen asked about servicing a gay wedding.
‘Are you okay with it being a gay marriage ceremony?’ Springsteen said.
‘Thanks for checking with us Katelynn, but due to our Christian faith, we would not be able to accommodate you,’ the respondents replied.
State records indicate Boone’s is managed by David and Donna Russell, who both live in Booneville.
In 2016, Mississippi passed a ‘religious freedom’ law allowing merchants and government employees to cite religious beliefs in denying services to same-sex couples.
The City of Booneville released a statement Monday in response to the woman in Welch’s video.
‘The City of Booneville, Mayor, and Board of Aldermen do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status,’ officials said in a statement posted to Facebook on Monday. ‘Furthermore, the City of Booneville, Mayor, and Board of Aldermen do not condone or approve these types of discriminatory policies.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail