It would be safe to assume that the “W.W.” in “W.W. Bridal Boutique” doesn’t stand for “woman and woman.” The Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania business is now facing public scrutiny after one woman complained on Facebook that she and her same-sex fiance were refused service because of their sexual orientation, writing that she was told that they “would not be able to schedule an appointment for us because they currently do not service same sex couples and it’s just not something they do.”
Pennsylvania is currently the only state in which same-sex couples can legally marry, but also legally be refused jobs, housing, and public services just because of their sexual orientation. Many municipalities across the commonwealth have passed local nondiscrimination protections to compensate for the lack of state and federal laws, but Bloomsburg is not one of them — yet. This means that the discrimination these women experienced was perfectly legal.
The Press Enterprise of Bloomsburg spoke with boutique owner Victoria Miller, who defended the discrimination. “We feel we have to answer to God for what we do,” she explained, “And providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God’s law.” Her lawyer, Al Luschas, added that Miller has a “liberty interest” if the wedding violates her “firmly and honestly held religious beliefs.”
The Bloomsburg City Council is planning to meet Monday to discuss this incident and possibly consider legislation that will will protect LGBT residents in the future. State lawmakers have also proposed legislation that would create sweeping protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity across Pennsylvania, but the bill has not advanced in the Republican-controlled legislature.
The W.W. Bridal Boutique is the second such public story of a Pennsylvania same-sex couple being denied wedding services for a legal marriage since marriage equality arrived in the state back in May. Last month, a wedding venue just outside Scranton refused to host a couple’s wedding, though it never explained why.