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Same-sex couple settle wedding venue dispute

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 22, 2014 at 12:48 pm •  Published: August 22, 2014
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The owners of a lodge in central Minnesota have agreed to pick up the tab for the wedding and reception of a same-sex couple they initially turned away.

Cole Frey and Adam Block have settled their discrimination complaint filed with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights against the owners of Rice Creek Hunting and Recreation, Inc., which operates a lodge used for weddings in Little Falls.

Frey, 20, said he and Block, 18, complained to the Department of Human Rights after the venue's owners rejected their business because they were gay. Rice Creek employees initially told the couple the date for their wedding and reception was open, but then changed their minds.

"Because they don't condone same sex marriage and they weren't ready for that yet," Frey said he was told by Rice Creek on the phone.

The Department of Human Rights investigated and determined there was probable cause of discrimination by the lodge owners due to sexual orientation.

"This is the first public accommodation case for the department related to same-sex marriage, and it serves as a reminder that businesses may not deny services based on a person's sexual orientation just as they can't deny services on the basis of race or gender," Commissioner Kevin Lindsey said.

The department helped negotiate a settlement in which Rice Creek agreed to pay for the couple's wedding and reception at another location as well as accommodations for out-of-town guests. Frey said the tab comes to around $8,500.

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