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Published May 24, 2013, 10:19 AM

Disabled ND couple refused marriage by church

BISMARCK — A disabled Bismarck-Mandan couple is being refused marriage by the man's church because the pastor there says the couple isn't ready.

By: Associated Press, INFORUM, Associated Press, INFORUM

BISMARCK — A disabled Bismarck-Mandan couple is being refused marriage by the man's church because the pastor there says the couple isn't ready.

The woman's sister says the decision is unfair and frustrating.

Thirty-three-year-old Justin Neis is physically disabled and uses a wheelchair. His 42-year-old fiancee, Anna Bankes, has intellectual disabilities. Her sister, Charlene Bolton, tells The Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/10sI8M4 ) that Anna functions at about the level of a 15-year-old.

Neis and Bankes are being married at a different church after being turned away by Spirit of Life in Mandan. Spirit of Life Rev. Chris Kadrmas says he didn't deny the couple marriage but instead asked them to wait.

Bolton says the church should be “inclusive and accepting of everyone.”

Church officials say their concern is for what's best for the couple.

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