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Under Fire: Bridal Store Feels the Heat After Refusing to Sell Wedding Dress to Lesbian

"I called her a bigot."

This one's sure to have gay marriage proponents buzzing. Here Comes the Bride, a bridal store in Somers Point, New Jersey, is feeling the heat after allegedly refusing to sell a wedding dress to a lesbian.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Alix Genter visited the store with six of her closest family and friends. After the woman tried on a number of dresses, she purportedly chose the one she wanted and placed an order for it.

But, when she filled out the associated form, she crossed out the word groom and wrote "partner" instead. Then, she wrote the name of her future wife on the document and left the store. Later on, Genter was perplexed when the store's owner, "Donna," called her and said that Here Comes the Bride would not be providing her with a wedding dress. Consumerist has more:

"She said she wouldn't work with me because I'm gay...she also said that I came from a nice Jewish family, and that it was a shame I was gay. She said, 'There's right, and there's wrong. And this is wrong.' "

According to a Philadelphia Inquirer piece, written by Ronnie Polaneczky, Genter was extreme upset upon receiving this call. She said:

"I was devastated. I was crying. I called her a bigot; I told her, 'I am a happy person and you are a miserable person.' Then she hung up on me."

Apparently, there's also a voicemail from the store's owner claiming that the wedding was not legal and that the store does not "participate in any illegal actions." The Inquirer piece essentially served as an apology letter to Genter.

In composing the article, Polaneczky called the store's owner to get her side of the story. But, rather than hearing a contradictory account, Donna allegedly validated Genter's story. Polaneczky writes:

You know what's strange? When I called Donna yesterday to get her side of the story, she both confirmed your version of events and accused you of "stirring up drama." She said that your writing the word "partner" was basically a provocation, evidence of a need "to show that she's different."

So, the store is sticking to its story -- and its perspective -- on serving homosexuals.

Public reaction to this incident has been noteworthy. On Yelp, the store's rating has dropped to one star, as individuals have weighed in with their perspective on the matter. Also, people have been uploading images to the Yelp page that stand to support gays and lesbians. See a screen shot, below, which showcases the gay flag as well as the store's current rating:

This story is intriguing on a number of levels. One wonders what the legal ramifications of refusing service are, if any. In June, we wrote about how the New York gay marriage law could impact opponents. What do you think? Should be it legal for businesses to refuse to serve individuals based on sexual orientation?

(h/t Consumerist)

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