Beloftebos, a wedding venue in the Western Cape who made headlines in January for refusing to host a same-sex wedding ceremony on religious grounds, are now claiming that they are being discriminated against by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
On Monday [May 18], the owners of the establishment claimed that they had filed papers with the Equality Court, opposing the fact that they have discriminated against LGBTI+ people, reports Times Live. This means they are arguing that their policy which states that they will not host same-sex weddings is not discriminatory.
Michael Swain, executive director of Freedom of Religion South Africa said that Beloftebos are “asking the Equality Court to find that the SAHRC unfairly discriminated against them on grounds of conscience, religion and belief, and that the commission is biased and prejudiced in its treatment of them and their belief system”.
The commission launched an application against the owners in March, following several complaints about the venue. The Comissioner, André Gaum, explained that the outcome they hope to achieve includes that the venue’s policy be declared discriminatory, and that they are forced to host same-sex marriages. He said that the policy is unconstitutional and amounts to unfair discrimination.
According to Times Live, the owners claim that the ruling will have far-reaching consequences for them. “If the court decides against them, the owners of Beloftebos will be forced to participate in and celebrate events that violate their conscience, religion and belief — or alternatively be forced to close their venue and cease to offer their services,” said Swain.