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Same-sex couple turns to SAHRC after venue refuses to host their wedding

Beloftebos Wedding Venue argued 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 had found this to be the case.

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 lesbian couple denied the right to get married as a Stanford venue has approached the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

Megan Watling and Sasha-Lee Heekes were told that the Beloftebos Wedding Venue would not host their special day in April 2021, because of their sexual orientation.

In 2017, the venue owners took legal advice after a complaint was lodged with the SAHRC because they denied another same-sex couple.

Beloftebos Wedding Venue argued 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 had found this to be the case.

However, HRC commissioner Andre Gaum said that one could not on the basis of one's religious beliefs trample on other rights, especially the right to equality and human dignity on prohibited grounds and in this matter, sexual orientation.

"We strongly believe that in this particular instance, Beloftebos is not acting constitutionally."

Gaum said that they would be adding the latest matter to the 2017 case.

"We are finalising our court papers to go to the Western Cape High Court sitting at the Equality Court to determine that particular matter."

He said that there were a number of possible sanctions that can be put into effect.

"In the matter, for example, a declaratory order declaring that the policy is unconstitutional and also order compensation."

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