Does One Bad Apple Spoil the Whole Bunch for Gay Weddings?

DNElg.jpgNot long ago, we received an inquiry from a friend of a bride who was looking to help her friend with a bridal shower and to help her friend plan her wedding. She came to us asking for resources and we did our best to help her get started.
A few months later, we heard back from her and had to answer a question that, unfortunately, we have to answer too many times:
(we paraphrase so you can get the gist…)
I was in the process of making a booking at a reception site and they told me that they wouldn’t do a commitment ceremony or gay wedding. I don’t think what they are doing is legal. Can they really do this?!?!
Our answer to her:
“We are so sorry to hear that you encountered a vendor more invested in remaining close-minded rather than open-minded. Unfortunately, discrimination in a situation like this (as far as we know) is legal and allowed. The best thing that you can do is tell everyone you know about the business’ practices and ask them to consider taking their business elsewhere. You might also consider writing in to HRC‘s Equality magazine as they often highlight folks like yourself who take a stand to businesses like this (Action Heroes) or give “thumbs down” to businesses/people who actively discriminate against the GLBT community.”
Melissa chose to take a stance on this issue by providing us with an account of her experience to post here on
In her words:
Waldenwoods Resort and Conference Center (located in MIchigan) sounds like the perfect place for a wedding or business retreat, but beware if you are not heterosexual. I found this out first hand, while I was recently helping my best friend find a location for her lesbian commitment ceremony. Although I provided my best friend with about five or six locations in her area, she and her fiancé chose Waldenwoods as the only place they even wanted to look into. They thought it would be perfect for them. I went ahead and began conversing with the Banquet Manager, Debbie Mannisto, who was very helpful, at first that is. We got as far setting up date and time for a meeting, and I even booked myself a plane flight from California, before I received this disgusting email from David P. Greutman, President of WWFRR:
“I just spoke with Debbie yesterday and she brought me up to speed on your request for this ceremony. Unfortunately this type of ceremony does not fit in with our business climate. Debbie was not aware of what type of ceremony you were referring to until your last e-mail. She brought this matter to my attention and we discussed it yesterday.
“As you can see by our name, we operate a “Family Recreation Resort” and have for the past 20 years. During that time we have hosted hundreds of wedding ceremonies none of which were of the type you are requesting. At this time and under our current business climate we do not intend to host this type of event now or in the future.
“I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. I might suggest inquiring in the Ann Arbor Michigan area. Ann Arbor is located about 1/2 hour from us and has many possible venues for this type of ceremony.”
Obviously, Waldenwoods Resort does not believe that gay and lesbian individuals are appropriate for their “Family Recreation Resort.” I was just appalled that a facility of this type, in the year of 2005, would make such a horrible discrimination. In writing this, I’m asking for nothing in return. Obviously, there is nothing Waldenwoods could do to make us want to book the ceremony there. But I would like everyone, not only the gay and lesbian community, to know this interesting fact about Waldenwoods Resort and maybe next time you are planning a wedding or business conference be sure not to consider this narrow-minded, backward facility.

Have you been discriminated against by a vendor while planning your wedding? Have you found a vendor to be incredibly gay positive? Let’s reward those who are moving toward embracing marriage equality and not reward those who don’t. Feel free to share your experiences in the comment section below.
For gay-friendly resources, check out our growing vendor directory, your local gay yellow pages, or other free directories found online through search engines.
Note: We, at &, believe in respecting others and understand that everyone has a right to his or her own opinion. Though we believe that Mr. Greutman responded as respectfully and politely as he felt he could have given his belief system, we do hope that his facility will change its policy and learn to embrace all families. We publish Melissa’s words, which represent her own opinion and not those of &, as a means by which to raise awareness about the type of discrimination gay couples who wish to marry often face.
Special thanks to Traffic Sign Images from Street Signs USA for use of the graphic.

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