Christian gallery forced to close for refusing to host same-sex marriage reopens as church
A Christian couple whose gallery was shut down after they refused to host a same-sex wedding have now sold it to a church.
Richard and Betty Odgaard were charged with discrimination after refusing to hold a same-sex wedding at Görtz Haus Gallery, a gift shop and bistro in Iowa, which led to them closing their business in August.
They were forced to pay a $5,000 settlement for refusing to host the ceremony.
After local media reported the discrimination charges the couple received, other couples cancelled their bookings at the venue, forcing the Odgaards to stop using it as a wedding venue.
Despite having to close their business and sell the building, the couple described themselves as "pretty tickled" as the building is now owned by the church that they attend.
"If it can't be a gallery anymore, this is the next best thing," Betty Odgaard told The Des Moines Register.
They sold the building to Harvest Bible Chapel, an evangelical, non-denominational church associated with a network of churches called Harvest Bible Fellowship. The Odgaards have been attending the church for the past nine months.
Ryan Jorgenson, the pastor, said: "We fully support the stand that the Odgaards have made with their building and with their business. But our biggest thing by far is we want to be known as a church that loves Jesus. We preach and teach the Bible fully. We want to be a blessing to our community."
The church's first meeting in their new building will be on Sunday.