by Ben Johnson
GRIMES, IA, August 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Christian couple is facing a state complaint, business cancellations, and vulgar, harassing, and threatening e-mail messages after refusing to rent out a business facility for a gay “wedding.”
Dick and Betty Odgaard said they could not in good conscience allow a homosexual couple to use their business, the Görtz Haus Gallery, to conduct the ceremony itself.
“To us, [marriage] is a sacrament,” Betty Odgaard said, that exists only “between a man and woman.”
She told Billy Hallowell of The Blaze their rejection was “totally a faith-based issue,” adding the couple would be happy to serve the homosexuals “in any other way,” besides being the site on which they traded vows.
The couple quickly filed a legal complaint before the Iowa Human Rights Commission, saying that state law forbids any public venue from denying the use of its premises on the basis of sexual orientation.
As the story of their denial broke, frightening messages began filling up the Odgaard's inbox, the couple says.
“F--k you, f--k your God, f--k your religion," said one message from an angry gay rights activist. The same writer enlarged upon his thoughts, adding, “You are mean, rude, selfish, mother f---er racist sons of b---hes from hell.”
The family has suffered financial loss for its traditional stance, as well. Other couples have canceled their ceremonies.
The Grimes, Iowa, location served as a Lutheran church for nearly 65 years and is a popular destination for couples tying the knot.
Same-sex “marriage” has been legal in Iowa since April 3, 2009, when the state Supreme Court unanimously declared its defense of marriage law violated the constitution.
Lawsuits and legal actions accusing Christians of violating “anti-discrimination” statutes have risen in proportion to the number of states and localities that have toyed with redefining marriage.
Last year, a judge ruled that a New Jersey retreat house affiliated with the United Methodist Church could not refuse its services for a gay “marriage.”
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson pressed charges against elderly Christian florist Barronelle Stutzman after she refused to sell flowers for a gay“marriage” in March.
Christian photographers Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin were convicted of violating the New Mexico Human Rights Act after they declined to photograph a same-sex “commitment” ceremony.
Rasmussen pollsters found earlier this year that 85 percent of Americans believe people should be able to opt out of participating in same-sex “marriage” ceremonies if they so choose.