A Christian-owned bridal shop in Pennsylvania is shutting down after years of threats and protests have followed its decision not to sell dresses to same-sex couples.
W.W. Bridal in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, will close down on March 30, with co-owner Lisa Boucher telling The Christian Post that the Bloomsburg Town Council will likely pass an ordinance that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation — something that would impact the shop.
“I guess what would happen is that a customer would come in and once we deny them, they would sue us,” she told the Post. “You know how that goes with other [businesses].”
W.W. Bridal has been sharing some of the emails and voicemails that the business has received over the years — expletive-filled messages that take aim at the shop’s refusal to provide service for same-sex nuptials. In a March 5 Facebook post, business owners explained their stance on the matter.
Many have asked why we have taken the stand that we have. Matthew 19:4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not…
“Many have asked why we have taken the stand that we have. Matthew 19:4 And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made[a] them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’[b] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?[c] 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate,'” the text reads. “This is the reason we only participate in biblical marriage.”
The explanation continued, “We have the right given to us by God and the Constitution to live our lives according to our faith. We will not be forced by government, local ordinances or bullies to participate in something that goes against our faith.”
Boucher said that the bridal shop has also struggled to advertise over the past few years, accusing critics of going on Google and Yelp to post “false reviews” that have harmed the business.
“They will even say that they have been here and lie about the fact that they have been here when we have no record of them even being here,” she told the Post. “They don’t just say, ‘They’re bigots!’ They will do it in a way that makes it look like they have been here and we have denied them or were rude to them or whatever. It’s kind of hard to promote a business when you are being attacked.”
W.W. Bridal has posted a slew of negative emails and voicemails, including some cryptic messages.
“You stupid f**king bigots,” one man proclaimed in an angry voicemail. “We’re coming for you and your families.”
As Faithwire previously reported, W.W. Bridal is hardly the first Christian-owned wedding vender that wishes not to partake in same-sex weddings, though some factors differ in this particular case when compared to the bakers, photographers and others who have come under fire.
Consider that a California judge ruled last month in favor of a Christian baker who has been under fire over her refusal last August to make a same-sex wedding cake, finding that the state cannot force her to act against her sincerely held beliefs.
Not all emails have profanity in them, that was mainly done on voicemails, but they were written to harass and intimidate. Here are 2 more emails received over the years.
Cathy Miller, owner of Tastries Bakery, was victorious, with Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe drawing an interesting distinctive in the case. Had Miller declined to make a cake that was already made and on display, he said she would have been guilty of discrimination.
Pennsylvania is obviously a different state from California, where Miller’s case unfolded, though the religious freedom situation seems to get murky if a business owner refuses to provide a product that is already made and on display. In the case of wedding dresses, this fact would seem potentially pertinent. Read more about the California case here.
The ins and outs of all of these cases are difficult, with both sides taking passionate positions. You can read Faithwire’s full explainer on the debate over religious freedom and equal protection under the law here.