N.J. Bridal Shop Refused to Sell Wedding Dress to Lesbian Bride: Owner says: "That's Illegal"

Lesbian bride confronted shop owner about bigotry; refused sale of wedding dress

ByABC News
August 19, 2011, 1:59 PM

Aug. 19, 2011— -- Popular reality wedding shows such as "Say Yes to the Dress" depict how emotionally trying the purchase of a wedding dress can be, but Alix Genter found that out for herself when she was refused her dream dress from a New Jersey bridal boutique.

Genter, a graduate student at Rutgers University, was refused the sale of wedding dress at Here Comes the Bride, in Somers Point, N.J., after she says its manager found out she was a lesbian and insulted her about her pending "illegal action."

Donna Saber, who owns and manages the small bridal boutique, had initially called Genter to follow up on the availability of a special light-weight version of the dress Genter had coveted from her shop.

Saber told ABCNews.com that when she prepared to call Genter about her order, she noticed that she had crossed out the word "groom" and put in the word "partner" instead.

"When I mentioned it to her, 'Oh, I see you crossed out groom and put in partner,' I got a barrage," Saber said. "I literally got a barrage of 'bigot' and other really cruel words...I might be the kind of person that when you get at me, I might continue the fight, and maybe I shouldn't say this, but I have my beliefs. I did say that I, to the best of my knowledge in the state of New Jersey, that we do operate in New Jersey. If she had remained calm, I would have been able to tell her, that it's illegal, it's an illegal action, that her marriage was illegal in NJ. "

Same sex marriage is illegal in New Jersey, but partnerships are recognized.

Saber told ABCNews.com that she mentioned the information on the form to Genter out of curiosity.

Bridal Shop Owner Refuses Sale of Dress to Lesbian Bride

Genter had her own account of what happened. "She said she wouldn't work with me because I'm gay," Genter told Philadelphia Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky. "She also said that I came from a nice Jewish family, and it was a shame that I was gay. She said, 'There's right, and there's wrong. And this is wrong.'"

This exchange of words ended with a refusal by Saber to sell Genter the Eden Bridals designer gown.

The bride-to-be had visited the shop last weekend with an entourage of six friends and family members to try on wedding dresses, and had even brought along muffins and champagne to enjoy during the happy occasion. As per tradition, her fiancée was not included in the visit to select a gown for the big day.