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Engaged Texas Couple Claim They Were Denied Service Because They’re Gay

elpasoBigotry seems to be alive and thriving in Texas. Following the recent report of a former gay bar in Austin that denied entry to LGBT patrons comes news that a gay couple in El Paso was turned away from a venue where the two men hoped to hold a reception following their wedding, KFOX14 reports.

Monico Ramirez and Jonathan Luna (pictured) are engaged and looking for the perfect place to host their wedding reception and thought they’d found it at Grace Gardens, a popular venue for events in El Paso, except for their pesky “no gays allowed” policy.

Ramirez said his and Luna’s visit was going smoothly, they were looking over contract details with an employee, but when informed that the reception was for the two men.

“She just looked at us weird,” Ramirez said. “She took us to a lobby, and told us she had to go speak with a manager, we stayed there 15 minutes. She came out and said ‘I’m sorry guys, but we are not allowed to have any services for same-sex marriage.'”

The couple said they were made to feel embarrassed and when the local news station reported on the story, so was the owner of Grace Gardens.

Sandra Rodriguez, the venue’s owner, quickly maintained that neither man was mistreated at Grace Gardens and released a statement in response to the alleged incident, which includes a few details not included in the men’s account (hint: strippers!):

“Upper Valley Grace Gardens, LLC is aware of the KFOX News item aired on Sunday, August 4, 2013 concerning a homosexual couple’s inability to utilize the Grace Gardens facilities to host their same-sex ceremony and/or reception. While it is true that Grace Gardens does not host same sex ceremonies, and while Grace Gardens understands and respects that others in the community may reach a different decision regarding these matters, Grace Gardens felt it was important to respond to the news item because there was a very clear implication that Mr. Luna and Mr. Ramirez were somehow mistreated by our facility. That implication is unfounded. Mr. Luna and Mr. Ramirez did seek information about Grace Gardens and were given the same tour that all potential clients interested in using our facility are provided. At the commencement of the tour the gentlemen informed our sales associate that they were looking for a place to host a wedding ceremony, and they affirmatively stated that the female bride was out of town. It wasn’t until the tour was almost completed that the gentlemen inquired as to whether Grace Gardens allowed ‘wild parties with strippers.’ It was this question that garnered the ‘weird’ look described by Mr. Ramirez.  After responding that she would have to ask management for the answer, the gentlemen revealed that they were actually a same sex couple seeking to have their ceremony and wild party with strippers at Grace Gardens. After the tour was completed, our sales associate, who was new to the position and conducting her very first tour, sought clarification from management. At that time, the company policy regarding same sex ceremonies, as well as wild parties and strippers were all clarified, and she relayed the information to Mr. Luna and Mr. Ramirez. The gentlemen thanked our sales associate and left. Nothing regarding the treatment of Mr. Luna and Mr. Ramirez can be viewed as anything other than courteous and respectful. While some may disagree with its policies, Grace Gardens was at all times honest with Mr. Luna and Mr. Ramirez. The same cannot be said for their actions.”

Hey, at least they’re courteous when they practice bigotry.

On:           Aug 7, 2013
Tagged: , , , ,
    • HirsuteOne

      So, Grace Gardens would allow same sex ceremonies as long as it’s not a wild party with strippers?

      Aug 7, 2013 at 8:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      The venue ADMITTED that they don’t allow gay couples to use their facility.

      “”While it is true that Grace Gardens does not host same sex ceremonies, and while Grace Gardens understands and respects that others in the community may reach a different decision regarding these matters, Grace Gardens felt it was important to respond to the news item because there was a very clear implication that Mr. Luna and Mr. Ramirez were somehow mistreated by our facility. That implication is unfounded.”

      So yes we are bigots and we discriminate, but we DON’T mistreat people. We are VERY courteous when we discriminate.

      This is the typical southern bigotry. They will treat you like a second class citizen but then claim YOU are the troublemaker if you complain because they did it so politely.

      Aug 7, 2013 at 8:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Snapper59

      Oh, so they were to be married. In Texas.

      Aug 7, 2013 at 9:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dixie Rect

      Time to move out of Texas.

      Aug 7, 2013 at 9:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scribe38

      And people wonder why I refuse to vacation in Texas

      Aug 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hf2hvit

      I can think of a few scenes from “The Exorcist” that she might be perfect for…

      Aug 7, 2013 at 10:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mr. E. Jones

      All that press release needs, is an accusation that these two men got it on in the bathroom. Bigoted crap.

      Aug 7, 2013 at 10:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daniel-Reader

      Disgrace Gardens, more like it.

      Aug 7, 2013 at 10:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • lab

      unfortunately…if previous refusals in other states are an example…I’ll bet this place has just become booked solid by haters

      Aug 7, 2013 at 11:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • oilburner

      I’m gay and I agree with grace gardens
      Grace gardens has every right to refuse day weddings and a right to refuse wild parties w/strippers this couple needs to stop whining about grace gardens not catering to gays and find a venue that caters to gay weddings and wild parties with strippers either way these guys should take a hint and stop trying to shove there wedding wishes down the threats of venues who don’t want it. I agree with the venue and not with these two fellow brothers of mine.

      Aug 8, 2013 at 12:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Will L

      Same sex marriage isn’t even recognized in Texas, is it? Why did they think they could book a reception there? Not that I’m condoning the actions of Grace Gardens, but they will hold out until they have to. If they are going out-of-state to get married, have a small reception there. Surely some of their friends are going to travel to the wedding. If not, they aren’t close friends so skip the reception.

      Aug 8, 2013 at 12:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tookietookie


      Aug 8, 2013 at 1:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Homophile


      You’re still around? You are such a boring little troll.

      Aug 8, 2013 at 1:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sfbeast

      While there is clearly discrimination and bigotry involved here, there is also deceit. Did they really say the bride was away? Did they really say they wanted a wild party and strippers? Also, people can have receptions in whatever state they want, but they can only have a same sex marriage where it is legal.

      Aug 8, 2013 at 2:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hyhybt

      @Will L: A local reception is all the more important when the wedding itself must be held out of state, for the friends and family who cannot make it to the ceremony itself.

      As for the competing stories… it could *easily* happen either way. And while either way, the venue is morally in the wrong, they are less so in their version, which also removes anything that even *might* have them on the losing side of a lawsuit.

      The notion that anyone would actually *want* (on the job) strippers at their wedding reception is pretty unbelievable, but that someone interested in stirring things up might say they do at that point isn’t.

      Aug 8, 2013 at 4:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • scott747

      @oilburner: I think you’re missing the point hyhbt in that the venue stated that they did not “do” same sex receptions. Strippers or no, it’s plain, old fashioned, bigotry and discrimination.

      Aug 8, 2013 at 7:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ouragannyc

      Do people have wedding reception with strippers?
      You only have strippers at bachelor parties.
      I strongly believe that Grace Garden is lying.

      Aug 8, 2013 at 10:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hyhybt

      @scott747: Why would you think I missed that point when my comment very clearly indicates otherwise?

      Aug 8, 2013 at 11:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam


      Actually you are a liar. The way we know that somebody is a troll coming on here pretending to be gay is that they always start with “I am gay” or “As a gay man”…..

      We know who we are, we don’t need to announce it. So nice try bigot.

      Aug 8, 2013 at 2:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Freddie27

      Guys, you seriously need to check out the local Fox report on this. The reporter is the cutest guy I’ve ever seen on local news. Bill Melugin, yum!

      Aug 8, 2013 at 7:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • susansylvester

      just as Rebecca responded I’m surprised that any body can earn $8431 in four weeks on the computer. did you see this website >>> http://www.work35.com.

      Aug 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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