A couple in Phoenix, Arizona is reeling from their wedding planner cancelling plans for their December wedding after learning they were a same-sex couple. Crystal Allen and Kenyata White had been working with AffordableWeddingMinister.com to plan their ceremony for several weeks, but once its owner Susan Latimer learned they were both women, she told them she could no longer provide any services.
Latimer is a Christian-ordained minister, but her business does not appear to be run as such. She and the other ministers on staff provide nondenominational and even nonreligious ceremonies. They also provide full wedding packages, which include photography, flowers, and furnishings for a variety of venues. Allen and White were planning to purchase the “Garden Romance Package,” which includes an hour of professional photography, a PA system with music, chairs with covers and bows, decorated arbor, and other ceremonial customizations.
Phoenix’s nondiscrimination ordinance prohibits a refusal of service based on sexual orientation, but also contains an exemption for “any religious or denominational institution or organization.” Attorney Brendan Mahoney, who helped write the ordinance, told the Arizona Republic that because AffordableWeddingMinister is run by ordained ministers, “they get to say who they want to marry and who they don’t.”
Latimer took exception that a federal judge had ruled in favor of marriage equality, which “goes directly against God’s laws” and constitutes a “war on those who believe in Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.” She defended her actions, explaining, “I feel same-sex marriage is wrong and have every right to have feelings just like they do.”
The couple says they are not planning to take legal action, but they are disappointed Latimer’s site didn’t indicate they don’t perform same-sex marriages before they wasted so much time making arrangements.