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Liberty Counsel Successfully Defends Christian Business Owner over Same-Sex Wedding

Mountain Top, PA–Liberty Counsel has successfully defended a Pennsylvania banquet hall that refused to host a same-sex wedding because of the owner’s Christian beliefs. The Inne of the Abingtons, following its long-standing (and perfectly legal) policy, politely refused to host the wedding of a lesbian couple and suggested several alternate venues. After the Inne was unfairly shamed on social media for its stance, a heterosexual couple canceled their 100-guest wedding and reception event. But even though there was not enough time for the Inne to rebook the facility, the couple demanded the return of their deposit, which was nonrefundable under the industry-standard contract.

Having no contractual or legal grounds to force the Inne to take a loss on their cancellation, the couple sued the Inne anyway, seeking not only a return of the deposit, but triple that amount as “damages.” On the day of trial, the judge agreed with Liberty Counsel that the suit was improperly filed and should be dismissed. But rather than let the judge enter a formal dismissal, the couple withdrew their lawsuit, essentially giving up in the face of Liberty Counsel’s strong defense.

“We are happy to host dinners, birthday parties, or just about any other kind of event regardless of a client’s sexual orientation, but not a same-sex wedding,” said John Antolick, the owner of the Inne. He added, “I don’t want to discriminate against anyone, but my conscience will not allow me to use my business to endorse an event that contradicts God’s design for marriage.”

“A Christian business owner should not have his contracts dishonored or be hauled into court because he operates his business according to conscience,” said Roger Gannam, Senior Litigation Counsel at Liberty Counsel. “This is a victory for religious liberty,” concluded Gannam. Liberty Counsel was assisted in the case by Pennsylvania local counsel James Clymer and Rick Hecker of Clymer, Musser & Conrad, P.C., Lancaster.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.


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