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Published On: Fri, Oct 3rd, 2014

Judge rules Christian owners of banquet hall can refuse same-sex marriage

Banquet hall owners in Pennsylvania have won a lawsuit to protect their rights as Christians to refuse a same-sex wedding at their facility.
 
Barb Giarratano and her daughter Ashley sued The Inne of the Abingtons to refund a $1,000 deposit the family had put down to hold the facility. The couple requesting the refund wasn’t gay, yet the couple demanded the return of their deposit, which was nonrefundable under the industry-standard contract. The couple also demanded triple that amount as damages.
 
John Antolick, the owner of The Inne of the Abingtons had previously refused to host a lesbian couple’s wedding.
 
“Discrimination goes against everything we believe in as a family,” Giarrotano told the Citizen’s Voice. “Our conscience wouldn’t allow us to invite our gay and lesbian friends and family to a wedding at a place they know openly discriminates against them.”
 
“We are happy to host dinners, birthday parties, or just about any other kind of event regardless of a client’s sexual orientation, but not a same-sex wedding,” he told Charisma News. “I don’t want to discriminate against anyone, but my conscience will not allow me to use my business to endorse an event that contradicts God’s design for marriage.”
 
The Washington DEC-based Liberty Council represented the banquet hall.
 
On the day of trial, the judge agreed with Liberty Counsel that the suit was improperly filed and should be dismissed.
 
“We are happy to host dinners, birthday parties, or just about any other kind of event regardless of a client ‘s sexual orientation, but not a same-sex wedding,” said Antolick, the owner of the Inne. He added, ” I don’t want to discriminate against anyone, but my conscience will not allow me to use my business to endorse an event that contradicts God’s design for marriage.”
 
Roger Gannam, senior litigation counsel at Liberty Counsel claims the ruling is a victory for religious liberty.
 
“A Christian business owner should not have his contracts dishonored or be hauled into court because he operates his business according to conscience,” said Gannam.
 
"Lesbian" wedding mock-cake at the Roma Gay Pride in 2008. Picture by Stefano Bolognini via wikimedia commons.

“Lesbian” wedding mock-cake at the Roma Gay Pride in 2008. Picture by Stefano Bolognini via wikimedia commons.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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  1. Frank Daly says:

    There were TWO cases. In BOTH cases the judges said the lawsuits COULD go forward. In one, the judge wanted to transfer it to another county, in the other the judge wanted to add the inne as a defendant and remove the owner. That’s ALL that happened — contrary to the false press release of the so-called christian lawyers, there was no ruling in favor of the defendant.

  2. steve friend says:

    Get your facts straight. The judge DID NOT rule — the couple dropped their lawsuit

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