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Couple Files Complaint After Inn Denies Them Non-Religious Wedding

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A mixed faith couple has filed a discrimination complaint with the state, after being told they could not have their wedding at an inn in Galena, because they wanted a non-religious ceremony.

Jonathan Webber and Alexandra Katzman put down a deposit for a May 14 wedding at the Stillman Inn in Galena.

"They wanted to get married there, because it was the place where they had gotten engaged," ACLU attorney Rebecca Glenberg said.

Webber is Christian and Katzman is Jewish, but they wanted a non-denominational wedding.

In November 2015, months after making the reservations and paying the deposit, they wanted to finalize things and met with Stillman Inn owner David Anderson.

Glenberg said it was then that Anderson told the couple he would only be willing to perform a Christian wedding.

"It was, frankly, a huge inconvenience for them, as well; as they had let the innkeeper know months earlier that they wanted to use the inn, that they wanted a non-religious ceremony," she said.


The couple's deposit was returned, but Glenberg said they were "shocked and humiliated" because they weren't allowed to have their wedding where they wanted because they weren't willing to have a Christian ceremony.

The couple had to scramble for a new wedding venue and make all new arrangements, Glenberg said.

Webber and Katzman have since filed a discrimination complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. Glenberg it's possible, after hearing from both sides, Katzman and Webber could be awarded monetary damagesif the Stillman Inn is found to have discriminated against them.

Anderson would not comment to WBBM Newsradio, except to say, "That's the ACLU. I'm just a small guy. I don't want to say anything to jeopardize anything."

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