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Couple left angered after being told wedding venue not for same-sex marriages

The owners informed Megan Watling and Sasha-Lee Heekes they could not host couples of the same gender because of their religious beliefs.

Megan Watling and Sasha-Lee Heekes wanted to get married at the Beloftebos venue in Stanford but were told that venue was off-limits because of their sexual orientation. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - A same-sex couple is disappointed and angry after they were told their chosen wedding venue was off-limits because of their sexual orientation.

Megan Watling and Sasha-Lee Heekes wanted to celebrate their marriage at Beloftebos in Stanford in April 2021.

The owners, however, informed them they could not host couples of the same gender because of their religious beliefs.

Sasha-Lee Heekes said that they were heartbroken when their dream wedding was dashed this week.

"When I saw how upset and hurt Megan was, I said to her 'Please don't be upset because I don't want this to ruin how special the occasion is supposed to be'. But to have your love invalidated..."

She said that Beloftebos referred them to a statement which revealed the venue's stance on gay marriage was nothing new.

In 2017, they faced public backlash for refusing to host a same-sex wedding and were also threatened with legal action.

The owners took legal advice and the statement argues that their decision to not host same-sex weddings based on their religious convictions did not automatically amount to unfair discrimination and that no court has found this to be the case.

However, Heekes believed that their human rights had been violated.

"I believe in our Constitution. And yes, I believe that every person is entitled to their personal beliefs but I don't believe that that gives businesses the right to discriminate on grounds that are inalienable rights in our bill of rights."

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