South African gay couple goes public with wedding venue rejection

The owners of a South African wine estate assure they are not discriminating against a gay couple for refusing to host their wedding 

South African gay couple goes public with wedding venue rejection
27 April 2013

A gay couple is accusing a South African winery of discrimination for refusing to host their wedding.

The owners of Diemerskraal wine estate in Paarl, South Africa, say ‘it didn’t feel right’ to host the wedding and reception of Emile Butler and his fiancé Gareth O’Brien.

Though Butler told South African newspaper the Weekend Argus they just wanted an apology from owners Daan and Jeanette Morkel, he has also filed a discrimination complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

‘Why is my money not good enough for Diemerskraal?’ Butler asked in his interview.

‘We were very excited about Diemerskraal. One of my friends got married there. We knew exactly who would have sat where. It would have been perfect.’

Butler added: ‘[We] just wanted to share our happiness with friends and family at the wedding, but Diemerskraal denied us the right to do so at the venue of our choice.’

According to Butler, the Morkels ignored his numerous emails and text messages, until he received a text message from the owners that read they ‘couldn’t find it in their hearts’ to hold the gay wedding on their property.

‘I can’t believe that in this day and age it is not okay to be gay in South Africa,’ he said.

The Morkels said it was not their intention to hurt or discriminate against the gay couple.

Jeanette Morkel told the Weekend Argus: ‘They said they won’t leave it like this, and that we’re discriminating against them.

‘I’m not at peace with the situation, and the response I’ve got just means that I’m right to trust my intuition.

‘[I] give them all the blessings I can,’ she added.

Butler and his fiancé continue to look for new venues to host their wedding and reception.
 

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