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Tampa Bay Times: Scientology bans couple from wedding
Beautifully plated filet mignon. Attentive servers. A rocking band.
Sophia and Jack Vasilaros wanted a first-class reception for their daughter Marina, who married Louis Michaelos on Saturday afternoon in Clearwater. They got it.
"My phone's been smokin' with people saying they had a great time," Jack Vasilaros said Tuesday.
Not in that group, and unhappy about it, are a well-known Clearwater couple who have been close friends with the Vasilaroses for nearly 30 years.
Voncele and Denis deVlaming were banned from the event by the Church of Scientology.
Needing a large venue for their many guests, the Vasilaroses had rented the elegant Crystal Ballroom in the church's Fort Harrison Hotel, which is available to the public. As part of the rental agreement, the Vasilaroses agreed to send the church the guest list in advance.
Last Thursday, the church informed them that the deVlamings could not attend. Denis deVlaming, a longtime Clearwater lawyer, had represented church opponents in legal matters. The church could not permit him to enter the building.
With the wedding just two days away, the Vasilaroses did not object. "Rules are rules," Jack Vasilaros said.
His wife phoned Voncele deVlaming with the bad news.
"What about me?" asked Voncele (pronounced Von seel). Could she go? She hadn't worked in her husband's legal practice or ever said anything critical of Scientology.
Sophia said she would inquire, Voncele said.
On Friday, she called back. Voncele was banned too.
"We were both very heartbroken," Voncele said.