City of GR issues civil infraction after venue refuses to host weddings of same-sex couples
The City of Grand Rapids has issued a civil infraction against a local wedding venue, after the business refused to book weddings of same-sex couples.
The Broadway Avenue came under fire back in July, after the Grand Rapids-based venue said it had a policy against hosting LGBTQ+ weddings, based on the owners’ religious beliefs.
Following a handful of protests and complaints of discrimination, the City of Grand Rapids launched an investigation. This consisted of a multidisciplinary team of city staff. On September 30, it issued a civil infraction against the venue, claiming Broadway Avenue violated Grand Rapids’ Human Rights Ordinance.
“The Broadway Avenue LLC adopted, enforced, or employed a policy or requirement, or published, posted, broadcasted, or distributed an advertisement, sign notice, or solicitation which discriminates, or suggested, supported, or affirmed discrimination, in the provision of public accommodations," the city said in a prepared statement. "Due to the potential for future litigation in the 61st District Court, the City of Grand Rapids will not comment further in this matter.
Attorney David Kallman, with Great Lakes Justice Center, is representing Broadway Avenue. When asked whether he thought the citation had merit, he told WGVU the case is a clash of a city ordinance against constitutional right.
"My clients are also protected under the city rights ordinance. Religion is a protected class, but beyond that they have a first amendment right to freely exercise their religious beliefs," Kallman said, later adding “...We’re prepared to take this all the way to the supreme court if we have to. We’re going take this all the way.”
The City of Grand Rapids declined to comment any further due to pending litigation. The case will see its day in the 61st district court.