Church Denies Wedding For Couple With Special Needs
A Catholic church has turned down a request from a couple with disabilities to be married, with a clergyman insisting that the pair is not ready.
Anna Bankes, 42, and Justin Neis, 33, have been engaged for two years and plan to tie the knot in July.
Even though both have special needs — Bankes has intellectual disabilities and Neis uses a wheelchair — the couple has the full support of their families and there are no legal reasons why they should not marry.
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But the pair tell The Bismarck, N.D. Tribune that the pastor at the Spirit of Life church where Neis attends has asked them to wait citing church doctrine. Under Catholic practice, priests are to determine if the parties are truly able to consent to marriage in cases where either individual has a guardian.
“I thought the church was supposed to be inclusive and accepting of everyone. It’s not fair to them. It’s very frustrating,” Bankes’ sister, Charlene Bolton, said of the situation.
As a result, Bankes and Neis have found another church where they plan to proceed with their nuptials this summer.