A lesbian couple tried to schedule an appointment to try on wedding dresses at W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. An employee told the blushing brides-to-be, “We don’t serve same-sex couples.” The lesbians turned to Facebook. Some media outlets branded them “Lesbian Bridezillas” for after their post went viral.
The owner of the shop spoke out. “We feel we have to answer to God for what we do. And providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God’s law.”
You can check out posts on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/W-W-Bridal-Boutique/151619521520584
Here’s one representative of many of the comments: I don’t understand the LGBT community. If they get refused in one shop, why can’t they just go somewhere else? Is this the *only* place in the area that sells wedding gowns? You can’t buy online? You can’t even find a friend who sews to *make* custom gowns for the couple? I’ve known a few “plus sized” brides who’ve had to go that route. Why do you need to bother these people? Don’t you know the First Amendment guarantees “the free practice” of religion?
Let’s address her interesting statements and questions one by one.
Q: I don’t understand the LGBT community.
A: We’d like to have the right to marry the person that we love. Maybe all of the myths about gays just wanting rampant sex have confused her. But I’ll make it clear. At some point, we’d like to settle down with the person we love in a committed relationship.
Q: Why can’t they go somewhere else? Is this the *only* place in the area that sells wedding gowns?
A: Maybe it is the only place. But what happens if the next shop refuses to allow service? And the next? How far should they have to travel to buy something that is sold in their hometown. But the commentator answers this in her next question.
Q: Why can’t buy online[sic]?
A: Is there a bride in the world that would want to buy a wedding dress online without trying it on?
Q: Why can’t they find a friend to custom-make a gown?
A: Now here, she may think she has a good point, but there’s not as much intermingling of the gay and lesbian community as there should be. You’d hope that any lesbian would have a rolodex of Project Runway rejects that would be able to whip out a couture wedding dress from coffee filters and bird seed, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Q: I’ve known a few “plus sized” brides who’ve had to go that route.
A: [INSERT YOUR OWN SNARKY COMMENT HERE.] Mine – I bet you’ve known many.
Q: Why do you need to bother these people?
A: I didn’t realize it constituted “bothering someone” by trying to purchase something at a store where they sell the very thing that you want to buy.
Q: Don’t you know the First Amendment guarantees “the free practice” of religion?
A: This last question was the most common among all of the posts supporting the right of the store owner to “Just Say No” to the lesbian couple.
On all matters legal, I turn to two sources: the Supreme Court and the wisdom of Elle Woods in the movie Legally Blonde.
In 1878, the Supreme Court ruled that the “the professed doctrines of religious belief [cannot be] superior to the law of the land. [This would] in effect . . . permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.”
The logic of the Court makes sense. If we let Victoria Miller refuse service to a gay couple, what stops her from claiming free exercise of her religious belief and refusing service for other marriages she doesn’t consider “sanctified”? Should we let her deny a wedding dress to a woman that wanted to marry a black man? Or a woman that was pregnant and wanted to get married before the baby was born? Or a woman that was marrying a man that was divorced? There is as much Biblical precedent to allow a bridal shop owner to deny service to any of these brides as there is to deny bridal gowns to a lesbian couple.
But the WW Bridal Boutique doesn’t seem to care about any of these marriages that would be prohibited by the Bible. She only seems concerned about same-sex marriages. Elle Woods in Legally Blonde can shed some wisdom on the situation here.
In Legally Blonde, Elle Woods decides to attend Harvard Law to prove to her ex-boyfriend that she’s both a Jackie and a Marilyn. After struggling with her classes for weeks, Elle finally starts to “think like a lawyer” in the words of her professor. A regular sperm donor decides that he wants visitation rights to a particular child, but Elle doesn’t think he has a case.
ELLE: I have to wonder if the defendant kept a thorough record of every sperm emission made throughout his life.
PROFESSOR: Interesting. Why do you ask?
ELLE: Unless the defendant attempted to contact every single one-night stand to determine if a child resulted in those unions he has no parental claim over this child whatsoever. Why now? Why this sperm?
PROFESSOR: I see your point.
ELLE: And for that matter, all masturbatory emissions where his sperm was clearly not seeking an egg could be termed reckless abandonment.
PROFESSOR: Ms. Woods, you’ve won your case.
I’d like to ask a similar question to Victoria Miller, the owner of WW Bridal Boutique. Why this couple? Why this marriage? If you’re wanting to only provide dresses to brides in “sanctified marriages”, have you refused service to all couples that wanted to get married but had no plans for children? Have you refused to sell dresses to women who were adulterers?
And the biggest question – Why haven’t you stoned to death any woman that came into your shop to buy a wedding dress that was pregnant or an adulterer?
The last question seems silly but only because we all follow the same logic as the Supreme Court in the Reynolds case. The government can restrict your actions in your exercise of your religious beliefs. Your personally held religious beliefs cannot become the law of the land.