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Same-sex couple who bought dance classes ahead of wedding day 'turned away' by instructor

Michelle King and Amanda Shelton say they were told they would "make everyone in the room feel awkward".

2019-03-26

Words: Will Stroude

A couple's dream of dancing on their wedding day turned into a nasty reminder of the ongoing prejudice LGBTQ people face after they were allegedly turned away from the dance stuido they'd booked classes at because they were gay.

Amanda Shelton surprised her fiancé Michelle King last Christmas with a voucher for dance lessons at Prestige dance studio in Des Peres, Missouri, but the brides-to-be claim they were later told they could not participate in the classes becasue they were a same-sex couple.

Amanda and Michelle told KTRK-TV that dance instructor Dave Thompson insisted the studio didn't "have accomodations" for same-sex couples and that they "would make everyone else in the room feel awkward".

"I didn't cry, but I almost did," Michelle said.

Amanda Shelton (right) booked the classes at Prestige dance studio as a Christmas present for her fiancé Michelle King.

KTRK-TV reports that Missouri businesses can lgeally refuse LGBTQ people service for faith reasons, but Michelle says Thompson denied this was the reason for turning the couple away.

"I asked if it was a faith-based dance studio, and he told me no, it had nothing to do with that," she said.

The day after the conversation with Thompson, Michelle and Amanda say they received a call from a local dance studio that caters for same-sex couples, who said Thompson had been in touch.

"[The woman] said David referred us to them, and I was like 'Well I didn't pay for you, I paid for Prestige" she explained.

Michelle and Amanda claim Prestige dance instructor Dave Thompson told them their attendance would make other people feel "awkward".

"We didn't want to be looked at as another gay couple in a gay dance studio - and that's what he made it into."

When asked for comment, Thompson told KTRK-TV: "I can't discuss it right now. I'll have to get with my legal counsel and have them get back with you."

Michelle and Amanda say they believe they were "absolutely" discriminated against because of their sexuality, but that the incident will not stop them from making the most of their wedding day. 

 

"I hope that on our wedding day we get to dance our heart out," Amanda says.

Watch KTRK-TV's full report below: