Private business near Denton turns away paying customers because they're gay

The Country Abbey
The Country Abbey

The Country Abbey, a privately owned, all-in-one wedding venue in Justin, doesn’t allow same-sex commitment ceremonies.

CBS 11 reported over the weekend that a local lesbian couple, Tiny Shaft and Tiffany Fenimore, were turned away when they sought to have their commitment ceremony at the Country Abbey. The facility was once a Baptist church, but it’s now privately owned and lacks any religious affiliation.

Local gay-rights attorney Rob Wiley told CBS 11 that the couple has no recourse except to find another venue, because there is no prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodations.

CBS 11 reports that the owner of the Country Abbey refused to be interviewed on camera about why she won’t let same-sex couples pay the roughly $2,000 booking fee for the Country Abbey (which, according to the website, doesn’t include catering).

I put a call in to the Country Abbey this morning, and a woman who answered the phone refused comment. The woman said the abbey’s owner won’t be in or able to return my call until Tuesday.

“I actually just found out about the story today,” the woman said. “I definitely don’t want to be saying anything.”

Of course, there are plenty of LGBT-inclusive churches in North Texas that perform same-sex commitment ceremonies, so it’s not like this couple is out of options. But that’s not the point: This is overt discrimination by a private business, and the LGBT community should be outraged. What if a restaurant refused to serve gay customers?

—  John Wright