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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The owners of a popular central Pennsylvania wedding destination known as “Star Barn” have banned gay weddings due to their religious beliefs.
The historic structure is part of the Stone Gables Estate, located in Elizabethtown, and has become a very popular wedding destination.
It’s surrounded by a sprawling 275-acres of farmland, orchards, and vineyards.
PennLive reports the landmark venue is now at the center of a debate over religious freedom and the anti-discrimination laws that protect the LGBTQ community.
Stone Gables runs both the Star Born and Ironstone Ranch and has a policy barring reservations to same-sex couples.
Owner David Abel tells PennLive they go against his religious convictions, and his beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The policy ignited a firestorm on social media, after retired Lancaster educator Steven Dinnocenti posted this on Facebook.
“Never again will I step on (their) grounds,” Dinnocenti wrote on Facebook. “What one does not know is the blatant discrimination they have towards the LGBTQ community. … I for one will not be attending any wedding or party at this venue knowing they discriminate against people.”
The post has been shared hundreds of times and has hundreds of comments.
Abel told PennLive that he does not tolerate discrimination against anyone in a public setting nor in his workplaces. He owns several business ventures including DAS, a global automotive parts company. The business has even posted their “core values” on their website.
“We ask people to respect that we have core tenants in our faith and our beliefs and we cannot participate in any event that would be in contradiction to those core tenants – one of them being marriage, which has been biblically based for thousands of years as being between a man and a woman,” he told PennLive.