Tennessee wedding venue turns away gay couple over owner’s “religious beliefs”

Coty Heaton (left) and Mike Gill say they were rejected by where they hoped to have their wedding. – Photo: Facebook.

A couple in Nashville, Tennessee, said they were rejected by a wedding venue after the owner realized they were gay.

Mike Gill and Coty Heaton had requested to be married at Barn in the Bend, an event venue in Madison, Tennessee, and received an email from owner Jackie Daniel, who told the couple “We appreciate your interest in our place “and that she” was happy to organize a tour. “

In that first email, Gill noticed that the signature on the email read, “We only offer same-sex marriage ceremonies. “

But an hour later, Daniel sent Gill another email to verify the gender of his future wife.

“Did you mention your partner was a ‘he’? Daniel wrote. “If I’m wrong, I’m sorry, but I don’t want to waste your time because we don’t offer same-sex weddings here. If I’m wrong, I apologize. Let me know if we need to continue with the 4:00 [appointment] tomorrow.”

Gill also noticed that the signature on the follow-up email had been changed to read: “We do not offer same-sex marriage ceremonies,” reports TMZ.

The couple took to social media to explain how they were turned away from the venue, with Heaton describing the owners of the places as “bigots” in a Facebook post. In response, many LGBTQ people and allies began posting negative one-star reviews on Barn in the Bend’s Yelp page, its TripAdvisor page and other review sites, writing to express their displeasure with the situation. of the politics of the place.

“In 2021, we still have some absolutely HATE people, who don’t accept who unfortunately own a business… I will make sure to contact all the musicians, photographers, event planners I know to make sure that they’re crossing this fanatic company off their list, ”a TripAdvisor reviewer wrote.

In a follow-up email, Daniel wrote: “I’m sorry but due to my religious beliefs I chose this policy and for that reason alone. I wish you the best in life and the best for the future in everything you do.

She noted that negative reviews had already started pouring in, telling Gill and Heaton: “I see you haven’t wasted time with the reviews and that’s your right too, as has my choice of types of ceremonies. in my place is my choice. This is why people have so many choices and know that you will find a perfect solution for you and your partner.

Related: North Carolina wedding venue turns down gay couple, citing Christian beliefs

Gill told TMZ that he and Heaton didn’t want anything special from Daniel, but just wanted to warn other same-sex couples about the venue’s refusal to host same-sex marriages.

Following the deluge of negative reviews, Barn in the Bend set its website to “private” and shut down its social media presence. According to Nashville excavator, Barn in the Bend has also been removed from several marriage reference websites that have restricted access to their platforms due to the venue’s refusal to treat same-sex couples equally.

“Well, first of all, it’s a company that discriminates based on what its customers choose to like,” wrote a Yelp reviewer. “They said it was due to their religious beliefs – but I wonder if they also don’t allow others to rent the space according to the religious rules of the Bible … as if one people had married before (Mark 10: 11-12). Or wore clothes made of two or more types of fabrics (Leviticus 19:19). Or wear gold or pearls or braid their hair (1 Timothy 2: 9) Did any of them eat pork? (Leviticus 11: 4) Do those she allowed to marry have tattoos? (Leviticus 19: 28) What if we ate seafood? It is also forbidden (Leviticus 10-11).

“I mean, A LOT of these rules I just mentioned are from Leviticus – especially the one she wants to follow about homosexuals (Leviticus 18; 22)… So I guess she follows all of these rules,” the reviewer continued. “If not, we can assume that she is simply using the Bible to discriminate against others in order to justify her bigotry.”

A dining room setup at Barn in the Bend – Photo: Instagram.

“They hatefully refused to support legal marriages between ALL married couples who are US CITIZENS,” wrote another reviewer. “They responded to a friend with a MEGA BIGOT and hate message saying they would not support all legal marriages.

“News Channel 4 has been notified, and they may be riddled with prosecution, so I would definitely not book there while waiting for their hatred for LGBTQ + … they are DEFINITELY NOT Christians, for God loves and supports ALL LOVE “, added the critic. “It’s so disgusting. Two, beautiful people who were planning a beautiful ceremony just found out that they had to change plans because of the hatred of this place. WE WILL NOT RECOMMEND TO ANYONE.”

The story of Gill and Heaton’s rejection by the venue caught the attention of musical artist, performer and dancer Todrick Hall, who suggested a boycott, advising LGBTQ people and allies not to give Barn in the any business. Bend. Hall also said Daniel’s refusal to offer his venue to same-sex couples is an example of “heterosexual privilege” and urged others who support LGBTQ rights not to spend their money at the venue.

“I hope people will contact this company and hold them accountable, and let them know that even people in their community aren’t messing around with this,” Hall said. TMZ in a brief video interview. “This is not good. This is unacceptable. We are in 2021. If someone is getting married, it is not for you to decide whether their marriage should be legal or not.

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