Iowa Agency Tries to Force Mennonite Couple to Host Controversial Religious Ceremony
“Iowa is a great champion of individual freedom,” said Emily Hardman with The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “Every Iowan should be concerned that bureaucrats are forcing Betty and Richard to personally host a religious ceremony against their religious convictions.”
Betty Odgaard was born and raised a Mennonite—her father was a Mennonite minister and she played music for her church growing up. When she and her husband founded the Görtz Haus Gallery (Görtz is Betty’s maiden name), they made sure to keep the old church elements, such as the stained glass windows depicting Biblical images. With its religious decorations and architectural elements, the Gallery has served as a place to express the Odgaards’ faith for over a decade. One of their favorite ways to do that is hosting wedding ceremonies in the old church’s sanctuary. They personally help plan and host every wedding, and are both at the Gallery from morning until night for each wedding ceremony.