A Mississippi wedding venue has refused to rent to an interracial couple, citing religious belief.
An event venue in Mississippi has issued an apology after its owner was shown on video saying that her “Christian belief” led her to decline hosting a wedding ceremony for an interracial couple.
The video of the incident, which went viral over the weekend, shows an exchange between a woman later identified as the venue owner and a black woman named LaKambria Welch. In an interview with digital news outlet Deep South Voice, Welch says that she went to Boone’s Camp Event Hall In Booneville to clarify why it had recently said that “because of [the company’s] beliefs” it would not host a wedding ceremony for her brother, who is black, and his fiancée, who is white.
Generally, a church can refuse to conduct an interracial wedding for religious reasons, but Fred’s For-profit Banquet Hall cannot refuse to rent to an interracial couple.
But, Mississippi enacted a law a few years back which permits privately owned companies to discriminate for religious reasons.
As the venue owner attempts to minimize the fallout and backlash to her business, the incident has also called new attention to a 2016 Mississippi law that protects “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” about same-sex marriages, premarital sex, and gender identity. The law does not allow a person to discriminate based on race.
It was the Southern Baptist Convention which constructed a theological rationale for slavery, and that teaching is alive and well all over the south, though rarely spoken aloud nowadays. It’s a sad pointer to the ignorance and backwardness of much of the country — still — and a sad reminder of the real harm of religion. It is not a benign eccentricity; it is an affirmative evil.