Venue will allow same sex marriages after complaint

Stuff 31 March 2016
Earlier this month, a function centre in Lyttleton didn’t allow same sex couples to hire their venue to get married. But now after a complaint to the Human Rights Commission, they’ve changed their ways. Denis Aldridge, director of Living Springs, said earlier in March that their policy was not to allow gay couples to hire their venue, but that has since changed. Under the Human Rights Act, discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is prohibited. That includes service providers, like those hiring out a venue. Aldridge said the original policy came from Living Springs’ evangelical Christian background. “The background that we’ve come from, there was probably a lot we didn’t do. Same sex marriage was one of them, there was no alcohol for weddings,” he said. “Some people from religious backgrounds have had a real problem in this area… they couldn’t see how they could line it up with what they believed and their scriptures.” However, over the years, Aldridge said the focus of the trust had changed. “Our whole major thrust how is, ‘How do we add to the greater good of the community we live in?'” When asked if that should include queer members of the community, Aldridge agreed, but said “we’re just not there yet as an organisation.” Following a complaint to the Human Rights Commission from a gay couple who had enquired at Living Springs, and been turned away, that’s now changed.
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Couple at centre of Living Springs same-sex marriage complaint speak 5 April 2016
When she and fiancee Rebecca Northcutt inquired, though, they were turned away because the venue had a policy against hosting same-sex marriages. Following their inquiry, and subsequent complaint to the Human Rights Commission, Living Springs will now welcome gay couples.
… When friends of the couple who had legal backgrounds said they thought the policy didn’t sound lawful, they made the decision to make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission. Under the Human Rights Act, service providers can’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. While Wiltshire and Northcutt were in the process of requesting mediation with Living Springs through the HRC, they read on Stuff that the venue’s policy had changed.

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