Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Iowa Wedding Venue Closing to Avoid Gay Weddings // Owners Forming New Non-Profit Ministry

I wrote nearly two years ago about the Gortz Haus in Grimes, IA. It was an art gallery that also offered space for weddings and receptions. They turned away a gay couple who wanted to rent the space. They were specifically turned away on the basis of their sexual orientation. The couple filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights commission, because Iowa clearly prohibits discrimination based on a variety of factors, including sexual orientation.

This case dragged on for a while and eventually the case was settled last year. The Gortz Haus' owners paid $5,000 to the couple that they discriminated against and they agreed to stop discriminating against customers on the basis of sexual orientation. Which they did in January 2015 by ceasing all wedding ceremonies.

But the business isn't surviving without the weddings, so it's been announced that Gortz Haus Gallery will be closing soon.

But don't feel too bad for the Odgaard family. They are in negotiations with a church congregation, who wants to take over the building space. The couple has also founded a nonprofit ministry called God's Original Design Ministry, which will allow them to make money advocating for "traditional" marriage (i.e. not same-sex marriage). As a church and as a religious non-profit, they will have the ability to discriminate against couples on the basis of sexual orientation.

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