O'FALLON, Mo. — A St. Charles couple said they are shocked and saddened after a local restaurant refused to host their rehearsal dinner because of their sexual orientation.
In 2013, It was love at first sight for Kendall Brown and Mindy Rackley.
"We met through mutual friends and we all started hanging out," Rackley said. "We just ended up connecting -- spiritually, mentally, emotionally. And it's been awesome to be able to spend my life with my best friend."
Four years later, the two got engaged. From there the couple began to make wedding plans.
On Monday, Brown's family reached out to Madison's Café in O'Fallon to book a dinner ahead of their wedding on June 15. The following day, the owner called her to confirm details for the dinner and asked for the groom's name.
Brown told her there was no groom.
"She said, 'your spouse is another woman?' and I said, 'yes'," Brown said. "And she said, 'I'm sorry, we're going to have to defer you to someone else because we don't condone that kind of relationship."
Brown said the woman also told her she was in an "unhealthy relationship."
In shock, Brown immediately called her fiancee.
"It's never happened to us. We've never been denied," Rackley said.
Rackley said she understood that business owners have beliefs and opinions, but she felt the situation could've been handled much differently.
"We will never treat them less than human, even if we disagreed with them," she said.
Despite getting turned away, the engaged couple said they don't have ill-will toward the restaurant.
"This is not about spewing hatred on anyone or anybody. We are choosing not to fight hate with hate, but bringing about awareness is important," Brown said.
Madison's Café declined to comment on the allegations, but on Friday the owners posted a statement on its website saying the business strives "to honor God." The statement continues: "In order to honor God, we will not host or facilitate any event that we believe directly contradicts our Christian principles."
The couple is in the process of choosing a new venue. They said they never paid the business.
The Missouri Human Rights Act and the city of O'Fallon ban discrimination based on sex, race and gender, but not sexual orientation.