Condolences to Donna Saber, owner of Here Comes the Bride bridal salon, in Somers Point, NJ. Early this morning, a fire broke out at Saber's Margate home, killing a couple who rented the home's top two floors from her. Saber escaped the blaze.
Saber made waves last August when she refused to sell a wedding gown to a bride-to-be lesbian named Alix Genter, because, she said, Genter's upcoming union was "illegal." I had written Genter's story in my column, and it quickly went viral as Genter sympathizers called for a boycott of the store.
Coincidentally, I had spoken with Saber just two days ago. She called me, out of the blue, to say that her business hadn't suffered a bit from the negative press the story generated. In fact, she said, sales were better than ever. She remained bewildered, though, that Genter had referred to her as a "bigot," which she said was an unfair characterization. Saber said she merely had a "different opinion" about sexual orientation, and it didn't make her a bigot. So she was still upset by Genter's dark take on what had happened, and with my own support of Genter. She then spoke at some length about her "romantic experimentation" with women back in her college days.
The conversation was bizarre, to say the least. It left me feeling sad for Saber, who certainly seems conflicted about some things, and very unaware that she she even comes across that way. We ended our chat by agreeing to disagree about the meaning of the word "bigotry" and then bade each other well in 2012.
I can't imagine the horror of this morning's fire at Saber's home and the depth of her loss. i wish her peace.