A Christian-owned bridal shop in Bloomsburg, Penn., has been forced out of business after multiple death threats poured in from activists supporting the homosexual agenda of same-sex marriage.
The threats included burning down the bridal shop, raping the owners’ children and even shooting its proprietors in the head.
Lisa Boucher, who is co-owner of W.W. Bridal Boutique, agreed to take a few moments to talk to Christian Action Network’s PRB News about this tragic story.
Troubles began for the shop after a federal judge struck down Pennsylvania’s “Defense of Marriage Act” in May 2014.
Over the next few months, by August, the bridal shop received several calls from lesbians wanting to buy wedding gowns. The answer was always the same, said Lisa, who co-owns the shop with her two sisters and mother.
“We’re not interested,” she would tell the homosexual callers, while politely informing them of their religious view on marriage.
“After the federal court ruling,” Lisa said, “we had a decision to make. We decided that in the bridal gown area we could only serve those who are entering into holy matrimony – that is, a Christian marriage, which we believe is between one man and one woman.”
But at least one of those call-in lesbian couples objected to their religious views and began complaining on social media, including Yelp (a website that allows customers to review businesses they have patronized).
“We were always a five-start rating on Yelp, until then,” Lisa noted sadly.
Over a single weekend in August 2014, the shop received more than 100 negative reviews. The bridal shop now has a lowest (one-star) rating on Yelp averaging just three accepted reviews. (Hundreds of reviews were removed because of violations of Yelp user standards.)
But by 2107, Yelp reviews were the least of the bridal shop’s concerns.
In late July, a lesbian couple traveled over an hour from West Pittstson to Bloomsburg, which has a population of less than 15,000 residents and had exactly two bridal shops. The couple was in hunting mode, wanting to find the shop that dared to refuse service for gay weddings.
When Shannon Kennedy and her lesbian partner, Julie Samanas arrived in Bloomsburg, they accidentally visited the neighboring bridal shop first.
“They actually went to the other bridal shop first,” Lisa said. “When they discovered that they would be served there, they knew our shop must be the one they were looking for.”
Rather than patronize the bridal shop that would serve them, the lesbian couple decided to take issue with the one that refused bridal services to lesbians, W.W. Bridal.
“They came to us,” She added, “and on a form that designates who is the bride and who is the groom, they marked through the word ‘groom’ and wrote ‘bride,’ for two brides. They were here for about ten minutes altogether.”
Lisa promised that the lesbians were treated politely, but they were also informed clearly about the shop’s religious views on holy matrimony.
“It’s about Christ and his church,” Lisa said. “Anything different from male and female is a violation of God’s law.”
The lesbian couple left with what they really wanted, and drove straight to Philadelphia where they met up with a sympathetic media anxious to hear their story. The news spread nationally from The City of Brotherly Love, even appearing on Yahoo News, Lisa observed.
Like a set of falling dominoes, the story tumbled across social media platforms and into homosexual activist circles. Angry phone calls started coming into the bridal shop, along with threatening letters, social media posts and emails.
Seemingly overnight, the situation became dangerous for the owners of W.W. Bridal Boutique: their shop, their homes, their lives, then their families’ lives were at stake, even their children’s lives were threatened.
Threats were made to burn down their shop and homes. Someone suggested that a bullet should be put in the heads of the owners.
“They said they hoped our children would be raped,” Lisa said. “The threats included shootings, arson and rape.
“I think that’s what hurt the most,” she added. “Targeting me is one thing. But to go after our families, our children?”
The Boucher family had contacted police after receiving threats in 2014, and they did so a second time when things flared up again in 2017. But both times, law officers took a statement, and they indicated there was little more they could do unless the shop was confronted by a direct, immediate threat.
“They said to call us if something was happening at the shop. We haven’t heard anything (from police) since then, since last August,” Lisa said.
It all became too much for the bridal shop owners. The risk was too high. And in March they made the painful decision to close their shop, the bridal operations ceased right away. The shop, which they have owned for more than 20 years, is closing a few remaining product lines in phases.
“We bought it in 1996,” Lisa said. She, her mother and sisters, “wanted to go into business together and hand down a successful business to our daughters someday.”
They continue for now to service what they’ve already sold – the gowns, bridesmaid dresses – and they sell prom outfits on reduced hours. After all, the alternations and artistic detailing never cease because a customer walks out the door with a bag in tote, even if those doors are now closed to all new bridal customers.
Their dream of a safe tradition as an active part in helping local town folks to plan, prepare and enjoy one of God’s most sacred, time-honored and beloved institutions may soon become nothing more than a faded memory.
The heartbreak was discernible in Lisa’s voice as she spoke with us. But it’s a voice that has not gone completely silent.
“We want to draw attention to what has happened to us, and what can happen to other Christians,” she said. “I think this is waking a lot of Christians up.”
To see more from the point of view of the Boucher family and their rising voice in the face of this conflict, a visit to W.W.BridalBoutique@facebook is all it takes. (Parental and viewer discretion is advised, as the site has actual recordings of the abusive messages left to them by homosexual rights activists.)