Lesbian Couple Says Restaurant Canceled Wedding Rehearsal Dinner After Learning They Were Gay: 'Your Spouse Is a Woman?'

For Mindy Rackley and her fiancée Kendall Brown, the Madison Café restaurant in O'Fallon, Missouri had been the obvious choice in deciding where to hold their rehearsal dinner: it had been Rackley's father's favorite restaurant before he passed away two-and-a-half ago and the couple had hoped to honor his memory by celebrating their union there.

"We were excited to have it there because it had been his favorite place to eat and we were so happy to incorporate him in this special night," Brown said in an interview with Newsweek.

Whatever happiness the couple had felt about their choice of venue was cut short this week, however, when a phone call to plan the rehearsal dinner with one of the restaurant's owners ended with the event being called off "because we are gay."

"My mom had made the reservations for us on Monday evening and everything was fine," Brown explained. "Then, the next morning, I got a phone call from the owner's wife and she said she had some questions for me."

"Her first question was, 'what is your groom's name?' I said, 'I'm marrying a woman actually and her name is Mindy'."

"She said, 'your spouse is another woman?' And I said yes," Brown said. "Then, she said, 'we're gonna have to defer you to someone else for your dinner because we don't condone that kind of relationship."

"She told me, 'out of love for you, we're going to have to decline your business because we believe you're in an unhealthy relationship."

Brown said she immediately hung up the phone after hearing those words and called her fiancée in tears.

"It just saddened me so much," Rackley said about the turn of events.

"I just can't believe that this is still happening and that we get treated differently because of who we love," she said. "Who we love doesn't change who we are and, I don't know, it just saddens me."

Knowing that Madison Café had been her father's restaurant only deepened the pain Rackley felt over the incident.

"That's my dad's restaurant, you know, and I just can't believe this happened," she said. "He'd be turning over in his grave over this, I can tell you that."

If her father were still alive, Rackley said he "would have been livid" to hear how the restaurant had treated his daughter and her fiancée. "He would have been very upset and he probably would not have handled it as well as we have."

Madison Café has not immediately responded to a request from Newsweek about the incident. A woman working at the restaurant reportedly acknowledged the "couple's situation" to local news broadcaster KMOV4, but she declined to comment on the record about it.

Whatever the restaurant has to say about the incident, neither Brown nor Rackley want to hear it. The couple said they do not need any apology or response from Madison Café. What they want is for people to know that the way the restaurant's owners treated them is not acceptable, not now and not ever.

"I don't need to hear anything from them. The damage is already done," Brown said. "There is nothing they could do or say."

"They are entitled to their beliefs, so this isn't about trying to bash them," she said. "This is just about making other people aware so that they don't have to feel the way that we felt. In this day and age, this is just not okay."

"Yeah, I don't wish them any harm or hate or pain," Rackley added. "It's just not okay to discriminate against people, especially for a professional business to do this."

Since the couple shared their story on social media, Rackley and Brown said a number of restaurants have come forward offering to host their rehearsal dinner.

"It makes me love my community," Rackley said. "Sometimes it's hard to fit into a community when you're scared of what that community might think, especially having what happened to us happen. But, today, I love my community."

"It's nice to know that all these businesses are supportive and we will now continue to support them," she said.

Ultimately, Brown said, "we just want our message to get out there that love always wins and love is all and that should really be all that matters."

Kendall Brown (left) and Mindy Rackley (right)
Kendall Brown (left) and Mindy Rackley (right) were both left in tears after being told by the owner of Madison Café in O'Fallon, Missouri that their wedding dinner rehearsal was being called off because they are gay. Mindy Rackley