Madison wedding venue owner denies gay couple over religious beliefs

MADISON, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Nashville gay couple has been looking for wedding venues since getting engaged in July.

After searching, Mike Gill said he contacted The Barn in the Bend to visit Madison’s site.

“I can honestly say that when we started looking for wedding venues we didn’t think we would come across this at all, it was a real surprise,” Gill’s fiancé Coty Heaton said.

The couple received an email response from the owner of the venue, Jackie Daniel, stating that it was against his policy to hold gay ceremonies.

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“We were disappointed, hurt and angry,” Heaton said. “We are in 2021, we have come too far for that.”

Daniel told News 2 that it was against her religious beliefs to host a gay couple’s wedding, but she wishes them the best in finding a place.

In her email response to the couple, which she forwarded to News 2, Daniel wrote: ‘I see you haven’t wasted any time on the critics and it’s your right as well as my choice. of ceremony types in my venue is my choice.”

“We don’t look at churches, we knew going down a religious path would be a path of resistance,” Gill said.

But the couple said they felt triggered by the reaction. They took to social media to alert their friends within the LGBTQ community that they would not be welcome at the venue if they were looking to marry in the future.

“She had every opportunity to say ‘oh, this date’s booked’ or ‘oh, we’re booked for the whole month,'” Heaton said.

After the post gained traction on social media with a photo of Daniel’s response, The Barn in the Bend’s website and Facebook page were taken down.

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“My intention was never to send hate towards this person, it was never to shut down the business anything like that. People are asked to make their choices, but when you make your discriminatory policy in a very blatant way and people find out about it, people don’t like it,” Gill said.

Based on a 2018 Supreme Court ruling in which a Colorado baker denied a gay couple a wedding cake, judges voted in favor of the baker because of how he articulated his religious beliefs . But Nashville attorney Jim Todd said if there had been different circumstances, based on the judge’s opinions, there could easily have been a different outcome.

Todd said it was murky legal ground as one side claimed discrimination while another fought for freedom of religion.

In the end, Heaton and Gill just want Daniel to think about his politics.