John M. Becker

Elvis Won't Marry Same-Sex Couples Because Jesus

Filed By John M. Becker | October 20, 2014 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Christianists, gay marriage, hypocrisy, Las Vegas, marriage equality, Nevada, persecution complex, religious freedom, religious liberty, same-sex marriage, special rights

vegas-wed-tacky-wedding-chapel.jpgNow I've heard everything...

The city of Las Vegas, Nevada is a place that's become synonymous with what some would call the de-sanctification of marriage. In the Sin City, you can get married in your car through a drive-up window. You can get hitched underwater with your vows written on cue cards and people in mermaid costumes acting as witnesses. Hell, even the local Denny's restaurant has a wedding package.

But same-sex weddings? For some Vegas venues -- including ones where you can be married by an Elvis impersonator -- that's a step too far.

The Washington Post reports:

"My faith won't allow it," Dolly Deleon told 8 News Now. Deleon said she is a born-again believer in Jesus in addition to owning the Vegas Wed Chapel, a 24-hour, one-stop wedding shop a block from the hard-partying Vegas strip where lovebirds can hire hula dancers and have an Elvis impersonator bless their unions.

"I would be a hypocrite if I said I'm a Bible-believing person and yet I would perform marriage that believe is solely against God's law," Deleon said.

The Elvis Wedding Chapel, which offers "Blue Hawaii" and "Elvis in Concert" as themes for couples looking to formalize their commitment, also refuses to serve same-sex couples. A man identified only as David would not explain the policy to 8 News Now. "There is no story here," he said as he refused to open the door to the TV station and their cameras.

More, after the break.

According to the ACLU, religious exemptions in state law only apply to religious institutions, not for-profit, commercial wedding venues. Those are classified as businesses, and as such, they fall under the purview of Nevada's anti-discrimination laws -- which prohibit discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation (as well as gender identity and expression).

elvis-wedding-chapel-vegas.jpgThe ACLU's Tod Story told KLAS-TV that wedding venues that refuse service to same-gender couples are committing a misdemeanor.

He added in a statement to the Huffington Post:

"Any Las Vegas wedding chapel that operates as a business is covered under Nevada's public accommodations law and is not allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples seeking a wedding ceremony, or any other couple for that matter. Currently, the way the law is written, it's a misdemeanor crime. Any couple refused service has to file a complaint with the state. ... [Vegas Wed] has turned away couples. I don't know if [those couples] even knew there was a law that protected them."

The Huffington Post had better luck than the Washington Post in getting someone from the Elvis Wedding Chapel to talk. An anonymous employee told reporter Cavan Sieczkowski that the venue wants to follow the law, but that "we don't, however, for Biblical reasons believe in that [same-sex marriage]."

"We don't want to discriminate against any people at all," the employee continued. "But our ministers are unable to do that at this time and we do not believe in that..."

Uh-huh, that's nice. Unfortunately, though, your personal religious beliefs do not grant you a special right to violate civil law in the public marketplace, so you'd better figure out a way to get comfortable with the reality of same-sex wedding ceremonies.

And by the way, something tells me that if your god is willing to look the other way on Elvis impersonators and hula dancers, that god is probably accommodating enough to deal with civil same-sex weddings too.

Photos via the anti-gay Elvis Chapel and Vegas Wed.

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