UPDATE August 6th 2017:
Belfotebos Wedding Venue, owners have released a formal statement on their website
We, the owners of Beloftebos are Christians who seek to honour and obey God in everything we do, including the way in which we operate our business (the wedding venue). While the venue is available to people of all race, our Biblical conviction is that marriage is reserved for a life-long commitment between one man and one woman…
ANC provincial secretary. Faiez Jacobs lays an official complaint with Human Rights Commission
— ANC Western Cape (@ANCWestern_Cape) August 7, 2017
Freedom Of Religion South Africa
Sanford Tourism Suspension
Stanford Tourism Body “have suspended their (Beoftebos Wedding Venue) membership and removed them from our website” in a statement on their Official Facebook Page
Beloftebos a “heterosexual only” wedding venue in Stanford are under fire after allegedly declining to host same-sex wedding ceremony on it’s Christian* family farm.
“Because you will go from here knowing that you have experienced the touch of the Creator, and you will want to come back for more.”
*-Taken Verbatim from the Beloftebos Website
Alexandra K Thorne and her American partner (Alex Lu) of two years contacted various venues, of which Beloftebos was one, in order to begin their journey they had dreamt of for their special day (hopefully, on a farm that the two were “both in love with “) but this jovial journey came to a screeching halt when Coia de Villiers the owner of this conservative country farm and Stanford Wedding venue, Beloftebos, declined the use of their chapel and historic ceremony venue set under “some old oaks” due to policy.
The very setting the De Villiers said “I Do” in Autumn 2005.
Thorne shared a screenshot of the email response received by the above owner on social media, which has since gone viralwith over 700 shares on her personal Facebook alone.
“Thanks Beloftebos Wedding Venue for reminding me that pretty things are reserved for straight people. Real classy,” she wrote.
It’s easy to see based on the De Villiers family fable, listed on their website, that religion in a large part of their farm and family values and hence the reason Coia, her team and “policy” are strongly against homosexuals tarnishing their families belofte (promise/vow) and history.
A reply on Alex’s Facebook post saw a different opinion, one of understanding of Beloftebos’s decision to, in his opinon, politely decline to host something they don’t “believe” in.
” Let this owner do as his conscience directs him. He isn’t using hate speech or bashing anyone for their beliefs, he’s just sticking to his own beliefs”
However this is blatant discrimination and goes against the Equality Act, whereby religious views cannot be used to deny services to LGBT people.
Section 6 of PEPUDA states: “Neither the State nor any person may unfairly discriminate against any person.” A “person” is defined as “includes a juristic person, a non-juristic entity, a group or a category of person” – in other words it includes a private business. Discrimination is defined as “any act or omission, including a policy, law, rule, practice, condition or situation which directly or indirectly- a) imposes burdens, obligations or disadvantage on; or b) withholds benefits, opportunities or advantages from any person on one or more of the prohibited grounds”. One of the prohibited grounds is “sexual orientation.
Once it is shown that you discriminated (as it would be if this is your policy which you have communicated to anyone) the onus is on you to prove that the discrimination is not unfair. -Pierre De Vos
In an April 2015 judgement, the Equality Court in Cape Town ruled that owners of guesthouses were prohibited from using their personal religious beliefs to turn away same-sex guests. The same logic, in turn, should set a president when it comes to any other wedding or function venues serving the public.
When reached for comment De Villiers and her husband Andries told the TimesLIVE:
“We are in the process of taking legal advice and have been advised not to do any media interviews until such time as we have consulted on the issue and the way forward. Once we’ve consulted with our legal representatives, we are happy to revert to you. We trust you understand.”
— Rose Kotze (@rosekotze) August 2, 2017
Standford Tourism have posted the following on their Facebook Page Following backlash from the public;
Despite the legalities of it all, Alex and her partner have had their special day and a celebratory milestone in their lives tarnished, all do to some small minded bigots.
What are your thoughts, leave us a comment down be below or TWEET US
With Legal research and reference to an article by Pierre de Vos of “Constitutionally Speaking”