Lesbian Couple, Turned Away From Justin Chapel, Exchange Vows At Cathedral of Hope
|Photos by Andrea Grimes|
|Tina Shaft, wearing a feathered headpice, married her partner of nearly a decade, Tiffany Fenimore, in a service at the Interfaith Peace Chapel at the Cathedral of Hope on Friday afternoon.|
CBS-11 and the Dallas Voice reported on the story last June. Via the Voice (CBS-11 doesn't seem to have the story online):
Local gay-rights attorney Rob Wiley told CBS 11 that the couple has no recourse except to find another venue, because there is no prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodations.Shaft said that she'd e-mailed a number of venues, but most never even wrote her back. The Country Abbey did, however, "take the time," she said, to tell her they didn't allow gay weddings. Word got out when Shaft left comments online at CBS and elsewhere advising other couples not to patronize anti-gay venues, and the Cathedral of Hope and other local Dallas businesses came together to donate the chapel and services to the couple so they could wed -- with their three children looking on.
CBS 11 reports that the owner of the Country Abbey refused to be interviewed on camera about why she won't let same-sex couples pay the roughly $2,000 booking fee for the Country Abbey (which, according to the website, doesn't include catering).
"I want people to see we're just like everybody else," Shaft told me in a phone interview after the service, which brought out video and still photographers from a number of news outlets. Shaft admitted that the media aspect was stressful -- especially since she felt like some news outlets were a little hostile.
"One guy asked us what we were trying to prove," she recalls. "What are we trying to prove? We're just trying to get married!"
The couple met more than a decade ago, when Shaft was still married and had not yet come out. "[Fenimore] was there when my baby was a baby," remembers Shaft, and their friendship eventually grew into more. Today, Shaft is studying for a criminal justice degree while Fenimore works as a bartender. "She is wonderful and works while I go to school," says Shaft.
The wedding featured the couple's daughters and their best friend. Both brides were walked down the aisle by their parents. The ceremony was officiated by Christopher Thomas, who quoted Ruth 1:16 -- the "wither thou goest, I will go" verse -- and noted that while the passage is oft-quoted at weddings, it's rarely observed that it was spoken by Ruth to a woman, Naomi.