The Mennonite Christian owners of an Iowa wedding venue who previously refused to host a gay couple's wedding are hoping to take their fight against same-sex marriage nationwide.
Richard and Betty Odgaard, who owned and operated the Görtz Haus in Grimes, Iowa for 13 years, have established a charity called God’s Original Design Ministry, which aims to "advance Christian teachings, Biblical ordinances and natural laws as God intended," according to its website. On behalf of that ministry, the Odgaards are planning to erect 1,000 anti-gay marriage billboards across the U.S., the first of which was reportedly erected outside of Durant, Oklahoma last month.
An image showing the purported billboard, which was a deemed a "14' x 48' lighted beauty," appeared on the group's Facebook page.
Although they were vague on specifics, the Odgaards hope they will be able to raise enough money for 999 additional billboards across the U.S. So far, a FundMe America fundraiser has generated only $153.
"We hope with the billboards, people will have drive time epiphanies and, in the privacy of their car, they will have time to think about this without anything else coming at them," Betty Odgaard told area news station Local 5. "To us, marriage is a sacrament and a very important sacrament and over the years it has been defiled."
Meanwhile, she told The Blaze that she expects a church will take over the building that housed the Görtz Haus, which closed July 31.
She noted, "Ain't [God] awesome?"
In June, the Odgaards announced they would shutter the Görtz Haus, which once hosted between 15 to 25 weddings a year, after refusing to allow Lee Stafford and Jared Ellers to be married at the venue. Once Stafford and Ellers filed a discrimination complaint, the Odgaards agreed to a $5,000 settlement, but that didn't stop two heterosexual couples from canceling their planned nuptials at the venue after the case hit the news. The financial loss that ensued, the Odgaards said, was significant.
Watch video of the case below, then scroll down to keep reading:
“I think if people in Iowa would have had a chance to vote on this, it would have never have been this way. People in Iowa are pretty conservative,” Betty told The Daily Signal. Added Richard: “This was all administrative judgement. The [gay couple] had a platform to file their case and we didn’t get our day in court with a jury of our peers.”