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Illinois Lesbian Couple Denied Use Of Reception Hall Because Of Manager's Religious Beliefs

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An Illinois-based lesbian couple is searching for a new wedding venue after the manager of one historic banquet hall told them she wouldn't help "celebrate that sin."

As ABC 7 News is reporting, Kristen Stewart, the manager of the University Club in downtown Moline, says she won't host a reception for Taylor Shumaker and her partner of three years -- or any other same-sex couple, for that matter -- because of her religious beliefs.

"Because marriage is a covenant that God created for man and woman, then, as a biblical Christian, I cannot help them enter into or celebrate that sin," Stewart, who is married to the owner of the club, told the news channel.

Schumaker claimed Stewart offered to take her on a tour of the club this week, but first asked if ''he" (meaning her fiancé) would be accompanying her. Noted Schumaker: “I said, 'It’s a woman,' and she said, 'Oh, we don’t rent to homosexual couples.'”

Schumaker also added she was more saddened than angry over the experience. “I cried when I got off the phone because, honestly, I wouldn’t have called there if I knew it was their policy," she said. "If it would have been on the website from the very beginning, I wouldn’t have wasted my time."

Though same-sex marriage is not legal in Illinois, the state does ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, suggesting Stewart’s decision is unlawful, Think Progress blogger Zach Ford points out.

Interestingly, Stewart's husband Perry has since clarified to WQAD, via Fox News 8, that his wife "mis-spoke," and that there is no ban on same-sex marriages at his banquet hall.

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