Jonathan Bennett is explaining why he and his fiancé were rejected from their dream wedding venue – and how that led them to make their nuptials a celebration for the LGBTQ+ community.
The “Mean Girls” actor told The Knot Tuesday that he and TV host Jaymes Vaughan initially hoped to get married at the Palace Resorts in Mexico but were denied because they are same-sex couple.
“When we got engaged, the owner said he couldn’t marry us because we’re two men and it goes against his morals,” Bennett said, calling the experience “a sucker punch to the gut.”
As a result, Bennett said this incident made him realize that their wedding should represent the larger LGBTQ+ community.
“We decided in that moment that our wedding was bigger than us. It’s our wedding, but it isn’t just about us. It’s about the LGBTQ+ community. We’re really making a point to make this wedding very loud on purpose,” he said.
Jonathan Bennett and his husband, former "Amazing Race" contestant Jaymes Vaughan, at the premiere of "Dumbo" on March 11, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Photo: Kevin Winter, Getty Images)
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Vaughan explained that the two decided to have their wedding at the UNICO Hotel instead “because on social and in their marketing, they have shown us that we’re welcome there.”
“We want to make sure that there’s never a moment during the engagement or wedding planning journey that LGBTQ+ people aren’t excited,” Bennett added. “We want to make sure that they are celebrated every moment and don’t feel a sense of otherness. The otherness needs to be removed from gay weddings.”
USA TODAY reached out to Palace Resorts and reps for Bennett for comment.
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Bennett and former “The Amazing Race” contestant Vaughan went public with their relationship in 2017. The couple announced their engagement over Thanksgiving weekend in 2020.
Last year, Bennett starred in “The Christmas House,” the first Hallmark Channel movie with a leading LGBTQ+ storyline. He told USA TODAY in October 2020 that the Hallmark milestone was “really special, because it feels like it’s progress.” He envisioned what the representation would’ve meant to his younger self.
“If I saw a movie that had a storyline like this – with a gay couple who are adopting a child and starting their own family with unconditional love – I think I would’ve felt a little less scared at Christmas,” he says. His motivation for doing the film was to help viewers “feel a little less scared and a little more seen this Christmas.”
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