Venue Refused Interracial Wedding. Then the Owner Checked Her Bible

Mississippi event hall cited Christian beliefs before admitting error
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2019 8:42 AM CDT

A Mississippi wedding venue has done an about-face after refusing to rent to an interracial couple. "We don't do gay weddings or mixed race," a woman at Booneville's Boone's Camp Event Hall says, citing her Christian beliefs, in a video captured Saturday by the groom's sister. "It really broke my heart to actually hear her say those things," LaKambria Welch tells the New York Times, though she says her family—including a black brother and white fiancee who'd been making arrangements with the venue for about a week—has accepted a private apology from co-owner Donna Russell. In a statement posted to the hall's Facebook page, since deleted, a person assumed to be Russell explains she was taught as a child to believe that "interracial marriage was against the teachings of the Bible," but realized her error after consulting the Bible and her pastor.

"My intent was never of racism, but to stand firm on what I 'assumed' was right concerning marriage," having "never taken the opportunity to research," the statement read. "Boone's Camp is sorry for the pain and inconvenience they have caused this couple and have invited them to use the facility." As a 24-year-old Christian, however, Welch tells the Washington Post that "if I know that the Bible doesn't say anything about biracial marriages, she knows too." The president of the Human Rights Campaign adds "this incident is yet another glaring example of how white supremacy and anti-LGBTQ bigotry are not merely things of the past. We must take action against these blatantly illegal practices." A 2016 state law protects people and businesses that act on "sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions" about marriage and gender. However, it makes no mention of race. (Interracial marriage is on the rise thanks to this.)

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