A gay couple from St. Cloud, Minnesota will have their wedding paid for when they get married this month. According to a report by the Minnesota Star Tribune on Saturday, owners of LeBlanc's Rice Creek Hunting and Recreation Inc. has apologized to the couple after initially refusing to be the site of their wedding. Not only have they offered an apology, they are also paying for the couple's wedding and ceremony.
Cole Frey, 20, and Adam Block, 18, contacting the club in February to inquire having their wedding at their venue. Frey said he didn't immediately reveal he was marrying a man and was told the date he inquired about was available. Frey said it wasn't until he went to sign papers and leave a security deposit that the club found out that the wedding was between two males. He was then told, "they don't condone same-sex marriage, and they wouldn't be marrying us on their property."
Gay marriage has been hot issue in the state of Minnesota right up until it was legalized in August 2013. Frey immediately recognized the club's refusal to marry them based on sexual orientation as a violation of the discrimination law that has been in place in the state of Minnesota since 1993. He then contacted the Department of Human Rights.
After an investigation confirmed the discrimination, Human Rights Department Commissioner Kevin Lindsey said his agency then contacted the club to make a settlement. Paul Rogosheske, the lawyer for LeBlanc's, agreed on the settlement as a misunderstanding of the Minnesota's Human Rights Act of 1993. He then promised the club will be open to everyone and assured Frey and Block would have "a great wedding."
The club backed that up by agreeing to pay about $8,500 to cover the upcoming wedding. Most importantly they agreed to comply with the state's nondiscrimination law in the future. Opponents of same-sex marriage, like John Helmberger, CEO of the Minnesota Family Council, sees this as a prime example of citizens being forced to accept "the government's view of sexuality and marriage."
On the flip side, Frey and Block believe they are deserving of the same rights as any other couple. Although they decided not to have their wedding at the club due to the controversy, they are pleased that the club's owner owned up to it and did what they could do to make it up to the couple.