The owners of a Pennsylvania bridal shop turned away a lesbian couple because their Christian faith doesn't allow them to "believe in that."
Shannon Kennedy and Julie Ann Samanas said the incident occurred at W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg earlier this month. The couple visited the shop to find a dress for Samanas in preparation for their March 2018 nuptials.
"We filled out the form that said ‘Bride’s name,’ ‘Budget’ and then where it said ‘Groom,’ we crossed it out and wrote ‘Bride’ and put Shannon’s name down," Samanas told Philadelphia Gay News.
The couple handed the form to an employee, who then questioned if the dress was for a same-sex wedding. When the pair said yes, the worker informed them that they would need to take their business elsewhere.
"She said, 'I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we’re Christian and we don’t believe in that; our faith doesn’t let us believe in that,'" Kennedy recalled.
Neither Kennedy nor Samanas challenged the staff member as they were both stunned by the interaction.
"I think we were kind of in shock," Kennedy said. "We all looked at each other and went, 'Oo-k' and walked out. It was unexpected. Afterwards, you think of everything you should have said."
The women later wrote about the incident on Facebook, calling out the bridal shop's blatant homophobia. The post was shared hundreds of times and even elicited a response from the boutique.
"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," the since deleted post read. "'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."
While both Kennedy and Samanas were troubled by the incident, they said the immense amount of support they've received on social media has helped to soften the blow.
"I grew up about 20 minutes from there and I think about 90 percent of the people who commented were straight people I went to high school with, which is awesome," Kennedy said. We had about 300 shares of our post, and I think we only saw two negative things."
This isn't the first time W.W. Bridal has landed in hot water for denying service to LGBT customers. In 2014, owner Victoria Miller refused to schedule an appointment for a lesbian couple, telling local reporters that "providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God’s law."