W.W. Bridal in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, will close its doors March 30 in anticipation of a new LGBT city ordinance.
The bridal shop's owners and employees reportedly endured years of death threats over standing firm in their Christian faith by refusing to take part in same-sex weddings.
What are the details?
Co-owner Lisa Boucher spoke with the Christian Post, where she detailed the shop's decision to shut down before the local ordinance passed.
The new ordinance would reportedly ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, and thusly impact the way some companies — specifically Christian companies — may conduct their professional business.
According to the outlet, the ordinance would not take religious beliefs of business owners into account.
"I guess what would happen is that a customer would come in and once we deny them, they would sue us," she stated. "You know how that goes with other [businesses].
The company's Facebook page posted a moving update on Tuesday, explaining their stance:
Many have asked why we have taken the stand that we have. Matthew 19:4 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made[a] them at the beginning 'made them male and female,'[b] 5 and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?[c] 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.'" This is the reason we only participate in biblical marriage. We have the right given to us by God and the Constitution to live our lives according to our faith. We will not be forced by government, local ordinances or bullies to participate in something that goes against our faith.
What about the threats?
Boucher said that, in addition to death threats, many people blasted the business with false online reviews.
"They will even say that they have been here and lie about the fact that they have been here when we have no record of them even being here," she explained. "They don’t just say, 'They’re bigots!' They will do it in a way that makes it look like they have been here and we have denied them or were rude to them or whatever. It’s kind of hard to promote a business when you are being attacked."
One comment posted on the shop's Facebook page read:
You're no Christian. You disappoint Jesus with your bigotry. Jesus teaches acceptance. He washed the feet of his enemies. Jesus would provide dresses to lesbians. You are a disappointment to [G]od and Jesus.
A portion of another comment read:
Remember when you go to bed at night that you are an awful human being for being ignorant and have no sense of compassion or humanity in your unfortunate existence.
The store's Facebook page also shared a disturbing, profanity-laced voicemail message.
The voicemail post was captioned, "LANGUAGE WARNING: This was the worst message we received. I have cut some of the messages out due to all of the profanity. This was extremely hard for us to deal with and it brings back so many bad memories. We do not deserve this hate!"
You can listen to the voicemail below.
(Content warning: Rough language):
Boucher said that she's not sure what will happen after the family-owned bridal shop closes.
"We are closing and this is our livelihood," she explained. "At this point, we don't have any plans of what to do in the future. We are kind of just resting on God's Word and hoping that He is going to pull us through it and open some sort of doors. I am sure He has blessings and will take us to wherever He wants us to serve, whether it be in our church or volunteer locally."
A crowdfunding page has been set up to benefit the shop's employees, and, at the time of this writing, has received over $1,000 in donations.