Oz to campaign at venue that does not permit same-sex weddings

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Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, and a supporter of codifying the right to same-sex marriage into law, is scheduled to campaign Wednesday afternoon at an event venue that does not permit same-sex weddings, according to its website.

The website for the Stone Gables Estate, which says it is “a biblical faith-based ministry/business,” includes a section labeled “Our Core Values” that states that it hosts wedding services “as ordained by God’s Word, the Holy Bible, that are consistent with the written truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”

A person who answered the phone at the venue on Wednesday said it does not book same-sex weddings. The individual, who decline to share their name and said they worked in event support, referred a reporter to the general manager, Cameron Norris. In a brief phone conversation, Norris did not provide further clarity on the venue’s policies.

As a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Oz has has been supportive of same-sex marriage. After Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the court reconsider its landmark 2015 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, Oz indicated he would support a federal law to codify same-sex marriage.

“I’m proud to join this effort with fellow Republicans. I believe that same-sex couples should have the same freedom to get married as straight couples,” Oz tweeted in September.

Oz campaign spokeswoman Brittany Yanick did not immediately return a request for comment about the campaign’s decision to host an event at the venue.

Oz is running against Democrat John Fetterman in a competitive race seen as central to determining which party controls the Senate.

Stone Gables Estate received public attention in 2019 when its policy on same-sex marriages created an uproar. A local tourism organization, Discover Lancaster, was scheduled to have a luncheon there and canceled, according to website PennLive.

The owner of the property, David Abel, at the time defended his policy, telling PennLive, “No persons will be discriminated against; however … we cannot participate in any event that would be in contradiction” to core tenets, “one of them being marriage, which has been biblically based for thousands of years as being between a man and a woman.”

Abel is also a supporter of Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Tierney, have donated about $30,000 to Mastriano’s campaign this year, according to campaign finance records.

Oz, who is trying to appeal to the more moderate swing voter in Pennsylvania, has distanced himself from Mastriano, a far-right candidate who has espoused a Christian nationalist viewpoint. Oz and Mastriano have not campaigned together, aside from appearing at a rally with former president Donald Trump in September. They are both scheduled to be at a Trump rally in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Oz has worked to consolidate support from the Republican establishment, while many GOP leaders in the state have shunned Mastriano.