Mississippi event venue refuses to host interracial, LGBTQ weddings, citing 'Christian belief'
A Mississippi wedding venue is facing backlash after a video of one of its employees refusing to host an interracial ceremony went viral last weekend.
LaKambria Welch recorded the video at Boone’s Camp Event Hall in Booneville, Miss., on Saturday. The short clip shows her confronting a staff member about the venue's decision to cancel her brother's wedding.
Welch told Deep South Voice that the event space had previously told her brother — who is black and is engaged to a white woman — that he would no longer be able to hold his ceremony there "because of [the company's] beliefs."
The footage shows Welch discussing the cancellation with an employee, who explains that, in addition to interracial weddings, the venue also refuses to accommodate LGBTQ couples.
"First of all, we don't do gay weddings or mixed race, because of our Christian race — I mean, our Christian belief," the employee says.
"OK, we're Christians as well," Welch responds. "So what in the Bible tells you that?"
The woman ultimately responds by saying, "We just choose not to," and the video ends shortly afterward.
Footage of the incident spread quickly on the internet, and the Boone's Camp even briefly deleted its Facebook page on Sunday, Newsweek reported. The venue reactivated the page soon after, though, and its owner posted an apology.
Newsweek described the post — which has also now been deleted — as the owner relating a conversation with a pastor who told them that there is no passage in the bible condemning interracial marriage.
The city of Booneville issued its own Facebook post condemning the venue's actions, saying that it does "not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status."
Another woman, Katelynn Springsteen, came to Deep South Voice with a similar story about Boone's Camp, telling the publication that her friend was also refused.
"I was trying to find my best friend, who is lesbian, a wedding venue. I was immediately shot down when I was asked if they were okay with a gay wedding," Springsteen said of the conversation, which took place last September.
Mississippi lawmakers passed a "religious freedom" law in 2017, making it legal for businesses to deny customers who they say conflict with their religious beliefs. That law, which was criticized by opponents as allowing for anti-LGBTQ discrimination, was met with protests at the time.
"By promoting a law that singles out a particular group for discriminatory treatment, the state of Mississippi sends a message to the rest of the country that not everyone is welcome in the 'Hospitality State,'" Beth Orlansky, advocacy director for the Mississippi Center for Justice, told the Clarion-Ledger when the law was passed.