Interfaith Couple Denied Wedding at Hotel in Illinois; Files Discrimination Complaint

by Mishka O
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With the increasing number of interfaith marriages and communities spreading across the country, it comes as a shock to hear reports of discrimination against interfaith couples. Sadly, they still persist and surface from time-to-time.

A couple were refused a non-religous service at a hotel in Illinois because of their faiths.

Interfaith couple, Alexandra Katzman and Jonathan Webber of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, planned to hold their wedding at the Bernadine’s Stillman Inn in Galena, Illinois. Katzman (who is Jewish) and Webber (who is Christian) were engaged at the inn, and wished to celebrate their marriage at the same place.

They had paid a deposit for a non-religious wedding in May 2016, but when they finalized details the hotel owner refused to allow them a ceremony per their wishes. Owner Dave Anderson is said to have told them that he would only allow a Christian service.

Katzman and Webber, who who then went on to have their wedding elsewhere, have filed a religious discrimination complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights, according to a report by The Associated Press on Wednesday. The couple are being represented by the American Civil Liberties. They hope the complaint will prompt a state ruling against the inn which will facilitate future couples.

Talking about being rejected from having a non-religious wedding at the Bernadine’s Stillman Inn by Hotel owner Anderson, Katzman told WGN-TV: “He just kept saying that he wouldn’t allow it or he would only allow ceremonies that allow God or religion… He said your wedding is not a good fit.”

In response, Anderson told WGN-TV that he can “only do religious weddings” because of a city regulation in Galena, Illinois. The city has denied such a rule, saying that they no such regulation. The Associated Press attempted to contact him for comment, but Anderson declined.


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