Couple flooded with kindness after Tennessee wedding venue rejected them for being gay
LGBTQ+ community members and allies have come together to support Mike Gill and Coty Heaton after a wedding venue rejected them due to their sexuality.
Heaton and Gill were elated to be planning their wedding at Barn in the Bend in Madison, Tennessee. Gill had already spoken to the venue’s owner, Jackie Daniel, who was excited to host the event. Confusingly, Daniel’s email signature read, “We offer same-sex marriage ceremonies only,” which made Gill and Heaton feel they had found the perfect place.
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But it turned out the signature had been written incorrectly, and when Daniel found out Gill and Heaton were both men, she turned on them.
“Did you mention that your partner was ‘he,'” Daniel wrote in an email that Gill shared with TMZ. “If I’m wrong I’m sorry. However, I don’t want to waste your time since we do not offer same sex marriages here.”
Daniel’s email signature had also been changed. It now read, “We do not offer same-sex marriage ceremonies.”
Daniel also followed up in another email to explain that she did not host same-sex weddings due to “religious beliefs,” according to Out.
Gill responded by leaving a review of the venue online with the goal of alerting LGBTQ+ couples that they are not welcome at Barn in the Bend. Hundreds of people then took to the venue’s pages on Yelp, Facebook, and the like to leave more reviews disparaging the venue for its bigotry and homophobia.
“Discrimination against anyone is wrong,” wrote one Facebook commenter, “and when a friend tells me that a venue wants to discriminate against them, as a same-sex couple, I am bound to say something. Definitely will not recommend to anyone and will make sure that this story continues to be spread so that you can fully understand the consequences of your prejudice.”
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The venue has since been dropped from several wedding resource websites and referral services, Scoop Nashville reports.
But the couple has not only found support on social media. They told TMZ that after their story gained media attention, multiple venues in Tennessee, Louisiana, and West Virginia reached out offering to host their wedding at a large discount.
Ultimately, they chose The Grove, located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
The couple is now ready to move forward with planning and is eager to find additional inclusive vendors to help them celebrate their special day.
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