Beloftebos wedding venue in Stanford has responded to a legal case against them by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), saying they are being discriminated against by the Commission.
The wedding venue made headlines earlier this year for refusing to host a same-sex wedding on their grounds. This is not the first time the venue denied such a request, as they have made headlines over the years for doing the same thing.
In the most recent incident, Beloftebos refused brides-to-be Megan and Sasha-Lee’s application for their wedding based on their “personal beliefs”.
Since the incident, a case was laid against the venue’s owners on the grounds of discrimination against members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
The venue owners have since laid a case of their own, claiming that they are in fact the ones discriminated against by the LGBTQIA+ community. They have asked the Equality Court to address the unfair discrimination of the SAHRC on the grounds of conscience, religion and belief. According to the owners, the Commission is biased and prejudiced in its treatment of them and their belief system.
“All people, whatever their sexual orientation, are always welcome and will be served at our venue. We draw no distinction between people as far as serving them, catering for them or allowing them to use ‘our’ facilities is concerned. This is one hundred per cent in line with what Jesus requires of us,” says the owners of Belfotebos Wedding Venue.
“However, when we are approached to assist in something which we sincerely believe is not in line with Jesus’s teaching we cannot, for the reasons already set out, in good conscience comply. Our decisions have absolutely nothing to do with a person’s race, gender, sexual choices, economic standing or any other personal factor but are purely based upon our desire to do what is right before God in accordance with our beliefs.”
According to Michael Swain, Executive Director of Freedom of Religion South Africa, this case could have huge implications for religion in South Africa if the court rules in favour of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“If the Court decides against them, the owners of Beloftebos will be forced to participate in and celebrate events that violate their conscience, religion and belief or alternatively be forced to close their venue and cease to offer their services. However, the outcome of this case will equally affect every goods and service provider in South Africa, who will then be able to be forced to do work or perform services which they may fundamentally disagree with.
“Ultimately, this case is about freedom – the freedom for all of us to choose to live our lives in a way that is consistent with our beliefs. It is thus possible to support same-sex marriage and at the same time to stand with Beloftebos, because if the Court can force them to perform work that goes against their conscience, religion and belief, it can force anyone to do so.”