Dallas Wedding Venue Kicked Off Wedding Planning Website For Dissing Gay Couple

A Dallas area wedding venue has been dropped from a major wedding planning site for turning away a gay couple’s business.
Jeffrey Cannon & Aaron Lucero (image via Facebook)

A Dallas area wedding venue has been dropped from a major wedding planning site for turning away a gay couple’s business.

Jeffrey Cannon and Aaron Lucero had been dating for three years when they became engaged last summer.

The couple decided they wouldn’t make a rush to the alter as Lucero is a teacher. “We knew we wanted to wait over a year just because of all the stresses of starting the new school year,” Lucero told OUT.

They had opened a couples profile on the popular wedding planning site, The Knot, which helps connect wedding vendors with possible clients.

So, after spending some weeks doing online research for options for their big day, the couple set out last Saturday to check out possible venues.

But at the end of a day of viewing venues, the couple received an email from The Venue at Waterstone, just outside of Dallas. The couple had visited The Venue that day and it was their leading choice for their wedding.

The owner of the wedding company, Lyle Wise, shared with the couple that the business was founded 27 years ago after he had a vision ‘from God.’

Writing that “The design for marriage that we hold to is based upon the design [God] set forth which is a representation of the bride of Christ joined to the groom,” Wise informed Lucero and Cannon that The Venue does not host same-sex weddings.

“Though we do not host LGBTQ weddings or receptions,” added Wise, “we are more than happy to converse and further explain our beliefs and the love God has shown us as well as how He is conforming our lives to himself.”

The couple posted the email to their Twitter account.

Note: nowhere on the website for The Venue does the company state it is a religious-based organization.

Lucero told OUT the email felt like “a punch to the gut.”

Cannon chose to respond to the email sharing with Wise that they, too, grew up with a religious background.

“Our prayer is that God will one day open your hearts as well so that you will be able to welcome all of His children into your beautiful venue,” wrote Cannon.

“Until that day comes however, we would petition you to please make your faith known to the public on your website and with Knot.com so that other same sex couples do not have to go through the same rejection that we have gone through with you,” he added.

After the denial, the couple decided to reach out to other venues and disclose they were gay in an effort to avoid any further awkward situations.

It turns out two of their appointments set for Sunday cancelled on the couple upon receiving the news saying they were not ‘well-equipped’ to host same-sex weddings.

Now, The Knot has a strict policy about discrimination which includes LGBT people.

In a June 2018 Instagram post, The Knot’s CEO Mike Steib, wrote, “When we learn that a vendor has violated these terms of service, we will remove the vendor’s storefront and refund his or her money.”

“We love our couples, and all of our couples deserve a marketplace free of unfair prejudice,” he added.

The parent company for The Knot, XO Group, issued a statement to OUT, which read, “Our company supports everyone’s right to marry the person they love and prohibits any vendor on our site from discriminating against a couple based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.”

OUT has since confirmed that The Venue at Waterstone has been banned from The Knot.

Lucero admits the action by The Knot was appreciated, but he says the website should be more transparent about vendors’ positions on same-sex weddings.

“They have the power to make a difference, not just by kicking companies off their market place, but by using their influence and power to really make a difference,” he told Out.

Apparently, companies can get a badge for their profile on The Knot that shows they welcome same-sex couples, but the website doesn’t offer a way to filter or search for those LGBT-inclusive businesses.

Brittny Drye, editor-in-chief of Love Inc. Magazine, says even though the U.S. is years past the legalization of marriage equality nationwide, there are still many wedding vendors who are not open to working with same-sex couples on their big day.

“While most are, I still receive responses from many who are not, even in progressive cities like New York and San Francisco,” says Drye. “Enough for me to know that we still have a long way to go.”

(h/t OUT)

News Round-Up: July 10, 2017

Instahunk Steve Raider

Some news items you may have missed:

• Woofy comic artist and model Steve Raider (above) doesn’t know anything about today being Monday 🙂

• Out Olympian Tom Bosworth sets new world record.

• Dallas firefighters say someone intentionally started a two-alarm fire at an LGBT resource center in South Dallas.

• Artist Leonardo Gutierrez has reimagined Super Smash Bros. characters as sexy bear versions of themselves. Check out his “Donkey Kong” below:

A post shared by Leo (@leoleus) on Jun 9, 2017 at 9:51am PDT

• The HIV Foundation of Queensland has launched a campaign to highlight how HIV+ people are stigmatized on dating apps.

• The Church of England voted this past weekend to condemn so-called “ex-gay therapy” and to welcome transgender folks to the Anglican faith.

• Check out this romantical dance between boyfriends that’s gone viral. Playful, passionate and definitely in-step 😉

News Round-Up: April 20, 2017

Some news items you may have missed:

• Jerry Herman’s classic Broadway musical Hello, Dolly! returns to the Great White Way tonight at the Shubert Theatre in a brand new revival starring a reportedly delicious Bette Midler. I made my Broadway debut in the last revival back in 1995 (I’m on the far left above) when Carol Channing made a spectacular return to the role of “Dolly Levi.” Wishing this new cast all the best for a fantastic run!

• TIME Magazine names Gavin Grimm, Sarah Paulson and RuPaul to this year’s “100 Most Influential People” list.

• Adam Medrano, the council member who chairs City Hall’s LGBT Task Force, has made LGBT youth homelessness a top priority. His leadership has led to the creation of Outlast Youth, a collaborative effort intent on finding beds, counseling, health care and job training for homeless LGBT youth.

• On the other end of the spectrum in Texas news, Governor Abbott says he wants to sign a transgender “bathroom bill.”

• Turning this year’s Pride Parade in Los Angeles into an anti-Trump march is making it tough to attract the event’s usual sponsors.

• CNN spoke to to two men who describe being detained, beaten and tortured in Chechnya as part of the country’s violent crackdown on homosexuality. Watch below:

Dallas: Gay Man Beaten With Pipe By Two Masked Men

This past Saturday night, Dallas resident Derek Whitener was attacked by two masked men as he was leaving a Target store. According to reports, the two men hit Whitener over the head with a pipe, fracturing his skull.

As a result of his injuries, Whitener has undergone brain surgery and continues to be treated in an intensive care unit.

More from the GoFundMe campaign set up to assist with his medical bills:

On Saturday, January 14th, Derek Whitener finished acting and singing in a show at the Firehouse Theatre in Dallas, Texas.

After the show he stopped by Target on his way home to buy groceries. On his way out of Target he was brutally attacked by 2 masked men in the parking lot.

We don’t know who they were or what their motive was at this point. All we know is they beat my friend so badly, that on January 15th he was rushed into surgery to stop the bleeding on his brain.

Before his surgery he was having difficulty forming words – a horrifying thing for someone as smart and quick-witted as Derek. They believe the surgery was a success but won’t sure until the swelling subsides.

He is currently in the ICU, and the overall the recovery will be at least 6-8 weeks. He will be unable to work that entire time.

We’ve set up this GoFundMe to help offset the cost of medical bills and loss of income.

Derek is one of the most creative, passionate, and unique individuals I have ever met in my life. He just accepted a position as the artistic director of the Firehouse Theatre, a community theatre in Dallas. The level of outreach he has done through his artistic endeavors (singing, acting, costuming, etc.) has touched the lives of counless individuals. I know he has inspired me to be a better artist since the day I met him over ten years ago.

Clearly Whitener has a long road ahead of him in terms of recovery and expensive hospital bills.

Anyone who would like to make a donation, no matter how small, can do so via the GoFundMe campaign here.

Update: Deadly Dallas Shooting Leaves 5 Police Officers Dead, 7 Injured

What we know about the deadly shooting in Dallas last night:

• The shooting broke out late Thursday during what had been a peaceful protest against shootings by police officers that claimed the lives of black men in Minneapolis and Baton Rouge, La. Approximately 800 people were marching through downtown, accompanied by 100 police officers.

• 5 police officers killed; 7 more injured, some critically; 2 civilians also injured.

• According to the Los Angeles Times, the gunman has been identified as 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson. The Times reports he had no known criminal history or ties to terror groups.

• The Pentagon has reported, via CNN, that the shooter had served in the Army Reserves.

• During a stand-off with police, Johnson told police he wanted to kill white people, especially police. Police Chief David Brown told reporters the shooter was upset about police killings of black people.

“The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset about recent police shootings. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers. The suspect stated he was not affiliated with any groups and he stated that he did this alone.”

• The police negotiated with the shooter for several hours, exchanging more gunfire. The suspect was eventually killed by an explosive device sent in remotely using a police robot.

• Three suspects have been taken into custody but are not cooperating with the police.

President Obama issued this statement:

2016 presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump issued these statements via Twitter:

Dallas: Another Attack In Oak Lawn Leaves Gay Man With Fractured Skull

Dallas’ LGBT community seems under siege by attackers in the city’s gayborhood of Oak Lawn which has seen over a dozen violent attacks in recent months.

Via Dallas Morning News:

Geoffrey Hubbard reportedly left work at the Tap House bar on Cedar Springs Road to have drinks with friends. Someone struck him in the head about 11:15 p.m. in the 3200 block of Knight Street, police said.

Hubbard rolled under a SUV parked nearby to protect himself.

“He grabbed my pocket and was trying to grab my wallet and I kicked him off and just yelled for help,”he told WFAA from his hospital room at Baylor University Medical Center.

An off-duty police officer happened to be driving in the area and helped Hubbard.

He remained in the ICU this morning with a skull fracture, according to WFAA.

Oak Lawn’s LGBT community was already on edge because of at least 10 attacks on people since September.

In one of the attacks, four men beat a man using a baseball bat after the gay pride parade and then robbed him. Police were investigating that attack as a hate crime because the suspects reportedly made “numerous derogatory statements referencing the victim’s perceived sexual orientation.”

Texas Sportscaster Dale Hansen’s Take Down Of Some Teenaged Racists

I think Dale Hansen should have his own national TV show. He completely rocks.

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"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." – Albert Einstein. In case you missed it, this is why everyone is talking about Dale Hansen.Posted by WFAA-TV on Friday, February 27, 2015

Dallas: Police Officer Urges Pension Board To Recognize Same-Sex Marriage

Thursday’s meeting of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Board grew heated at times, as the board considered recognizing same-sex marriages. The best moment came when one police officer told the pension board to “grow the nuts that God gave a gnat and do it.”

From WFAA-TV:

The hours of squabbling and litany of failed attempts to spur the board to action stirred the police and fire personnel in the audience to speak out. Ernest Sherman (right) with Dallas police rose and shouted at the trustees.

“I have no dog in this hunt,” Sherman yelled. “But, by God, you’re a [expletive] police officer. So is she. So is she. They have the same right as you! Period!”

“You will vote today as a board, up or down,” Sherman continued, pointing at board members. “Grow the [expletive] that God gave a knat and do it!”

In the end, the board decided to punt the issue down the road until SCOTUS ruled on same-sex marriage.

Dallas Billboard Promotes “Ex-Gay” Therapy, Billboard Company Promises To Remove Ad

A Dallas billboard recently went up promoting the use of “ex-gay” or “reparative” therapy.

As many know today, these techniques are used to try and “convert” gays and lesbians from homosexual to straight. Organizations like the American Psychological Association consider the practices harmful and damaging.

From ThinkProgress:

ThinkProgress spoke with Terry Kafka, president of Impact Outdoor Advertising, the small Dallas billboard company that is hosting the ad. Kafka explained that they had been convinced the ad was for couples therapy, having never heard the term “reparative therapy” before.

He described the true content of the ad as “repulsive to me personally,” promising that the ad would be coming down by next week at the latest. “If we had known, we wouldn’t have put it up in the first place.”

The practitioner who placed the ad, David Pickup,  says his techniques are not meant to “suppress” homosexuality but “resolving issues that cause homosexuality.” He tells ThinkProgress that he believes no one is born gay but instead come about due to childhood “gender identity inferiority” and “unmet male emotional needs.”

The Texas Republican Party endorsed ex-gay therapy in its platform last year.