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Freedom of Religion SA backs wedding venue for turning away same-sex couple

Cape Town couple Megan Watling and Sasha-Lee Heekes wanted to celebrate their marriage at Beloftebos in Stanford in April next year.

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 - Freedom of Religion South Africa has argued that a popular wedding venue has the right to turn away same-sex couples.

Cape Town couple Megan Watling and Sasha-Lee Heekes wanted to celebrate their marriage at Beloftebos in Stanford in April next year.

But the owners have informed them they cannot host couples of the same gender because of their religious beliefs.

Watling and Heekes say they felt disappointed and heartbroken after they were told the wedding venue was off-limits because of their sexual orientation.

The couple believe their human rights have been violated.

“Sexual orientation isn’t a choice, my only choice is living authentically and loving my soulmate,” Heekes said.

Heekes said they sent an enquiry on 7 January and received a response last week.

In the response, the owners then referred them to a statement on the website which explained their stance on the matter.

Michael Swain from Freedom of Religion South Africa, who represents Beloftebos, argued the venue owners also have rights.