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LGBTQ+ advocates push for action in wedding venue's policy against same-sex couples

The Broadway Avenue
The Broadway Avenue
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LGBTQ+ advocates push for action in wedding venue's policy against same-sex couples

The Broadway Avenue, a wedding venue on the city's northwest side, has stated on social media it will only host weddings between "a man and a woman."

A Grand Rapids-based wedding venue is coming under fire for its policy against same-sex couples. Owners have said it’s a matter of religious beliefs, but LGBTQ+ activists told WGVU it's clear discrimination.

The Broadway Avenue celebrated its grand opening on Monday evening, where the wedding venue was greeted with a protest near its property. The demonstration titled “A Very Gay Protest at the Broadway Avenue” was in response to the venue’s policy against hosting weddings for same-sex couples.

“We’re out here. We work here. We play here, and we love here. Their words are directly causing us pain," Co-Organizer, Jessica Krebs said, "...The purpose of the protest is because this issue effects everyone. It effects BIPOC folks, disabled folks, immigrants and refugees even Christians — all who are a vibrant part of the LGBTQ+ community."

In a series of social media posts, owners of The Broadway Avenue, which sits in a remodeled church on Grand Rapids’ north west side, said weddings that take place there must be between “a man and a woman.” The husband and wife duo, Nick and Hannah Natale, further stated online:

We at The Broadway Avenue, are so excited to provide the best possible experience to our clients and their guests as they celebrate some of the biggest events in life. Our business is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication and is a reflection of who we are, and the values and beliefs we hold from our faith in Jesus Christ. As a result, we would like our business to remain true to our Christian faith and this includes marriage.
We have love and respect for all, but it is possible for good people to disagree about strong religious beliefs. If for any reason we are not able to meet your expectations at The Broadway Avenue, we would be happy to help you find a venue that can.
Our Christian values and beliefs have no effect on how we treat people, how we welcome event guests, who we hire, our vendor relationships or other events booked at our venue.
We look forward to all of celebrating to come!
With love, Nick and Hannah

LGBTQ+ advocates told WGVU they’re disappointed in the venue’s stance, and some questioned why the beliefs weren't stated clearly on its website.

“I think that it's an attempt for them to seem impartial or seem partially accepting, when there is no ambiguity in these movements, in civil rights movements. Period. You are either accepting or you're not," co-organizer of the protest, Meghan Cytacki-Lewis said, calling the venue's policy "outright, blatant homophobia."

The City of Grand Rapids updated its Human Rights Ordinance in 2019 which prohibits public services being withheld due to sexual orientation. However, it also exempts certain religious practices.

Activists have formed a petition and plan to speak at Tuesday’s city commission meeting, to urge Grand Rapids leaders to uphold the 2019 ordinance’s anti-discrimination values.

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