Last weekend, Alix Genter found the perfect wedding dress. But on Tuesday, the store's owner called and refused to sell it to her.
"She said she wouldn't work with me because I'm gay," Genter told The Philadelphia Daily News. "She also said that I came from a nice Jewish family, and that it was a shame I was gay. She said, 'There's right, and there's wrong. And this is wrong.' "
Apparently, after Genter left Here Comes the Bride, a Somers Point, New Jersey, wedding boutique, the store's owner, Donna Saber, took a moment to look over Genter's customer-information sheet. That's when she noticed that Genter had crossed out "groom" and written in "partner" and her fiancee's name—and decided that she wasn't going to do business with her.
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In a voice mail (which you can listen to right here, thanks to Philly.com), Saber told Genter, "what you are describing in this paperwork here is illegal" and "we do not participate in any illegal actions." But it looks like Saber isn't much of a legal eagle: New Jersey allows civil unions, and Genter and her longtime partner planned to marry in New York, where gay marriage was recently legalized. Furthermore, in New Jersey, it is against the law to refuse to buy from, sell to, contract or otherwise do business with an individual because of the individual's sexual orientation, according to the state's Attorney General office—which means that Saber did participate in an illegal action after all, just not the one she incorrectly accused her customer of planning.
Also, the irony: Some of the most popular wedding dress designers out there are gay, which means that Saber makes her living by selling things created by the same people she condemns.
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When Philadelphia Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky called Saber to get her point of view, not only did Saber confirm Genter's story, she accused the bride-to-be of "stirring up drama." Polaneczky writes:
She said that your writing the word"partner" was basically a provocation, evidence of a need "to show that she's different."
"They get that way," she told me.
By "they," she meant women who were fed up with men because "men can be difficult," and so now they "experiment" with female relationships because they're tired of having men boss them around. ... "It's a lot of drama," she said.
Both Saber and Here Comes the Bride have come under fire for poor service in the past, but we're guessing that business is about to get a lot worse given the new crop of comments over at message boards like Yelp.com and Superpages.com.
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Last time we checked, stores were in the business of selling merchandise, not deciding who should or shouldn't get married. But what do you think? Is it OK to turn down a customer who doesn't share your point of view? Or did Saber cross a line and go from business to bigotry?