News, Culture & Society

Gay couple were turned away from wedding venue because of owner’s ‘religious beliefs’

A gay couple nabbed a discount on a wedding venue after another venue in Tennessee refused to entertain them, with the owner maintaining that they don’t host same-sex weddings. 

Mike Gill and Coty Heaton are excitedly planning their nuptials after getting engaged on July 10, but they hit an upsetting snag last month when their dream venue — Barn in the Bend in Madison, Tennessee — turned them away due to their sexuality.

Gill and Heaton have since blasted Barn in the Bend as bigoted and homophobic, sharing their troubling email exchang on social media.

But they revealed to TMZ this week that there was at least a silver lining: Several inclusive venues have since reached out to offer them discounts, and they’ve settled on one that gave them a great price. 

Mike Gill and Coty Heaton are excitedly planning their nuptials after getting engaged on July 10

Barn in the Bend in Madison, Tennessee, turned them away due to their sexuality (pictured: email from Barn in the Bend owner Jackie Daniel)

Barn in the Bend in Madison, Tennessee, turned them away due to their sexuality (pictured: email from Barn in the Bend owner Jackie Daniel)

Gill had spoken on the phone to Jackie Daniel, the owner of Barn in the Bend, to express interest in August.

After they talked, Daniel emailed him some price options and offered to set up a tour.

But a little over an hour later, Gill got another email from her.

‘Mike, I am not sure but I believe I remember you calling me and I was on vacation last week. Did you mention that your partner was a “he”[?] If I’m wrong I’m sorry,’ she wrote.

‘However, I don’t want to waste your time since we do not offer same sex marriages here.’

'I’m sorry but due to my religious beliefs I have chosen this policy and for that reason alone,' Daniel wrote

‘I’m sorry but due to my religious beliefs I have chosen this policy and for that reason alone,’ Daniel wrote

Following the rejection, Heaton took to the venue's Facebook page to call them 'bigots that deny same sex couples'

Following the rejection, Heaton took to the venue’s Facebook page to call them ‘bigots that deny same sex couples’

Oddly enough, Jackie’s original email had included a line at the bottom reading, ‘We offer same sex marriage ceremonies only.’

But it seems that Jackie had been confused and meant opposite-sex or heterosexual marriage ceremonies only, and in her follow-up, that line had been changed to read: ‘We do not offer same sex marriage ceremonies.’

Gill responded that the policy was bigoted, earning a reply from Daniel.

‘I’m sorry but due to my religious beliefs I have chosen this policy and for that reason alone,’ she wrote, according to The Advocate. ‘I wish you the best in life and the best future in all that you do.’

Following the rejection, Heaton took to the venue’s Facebook page to call them ‘bigots that deny same sex couples,’ while Gill shared screenshots of the exchange to horrified viewers on his page.

Their story earned quite a bit of attention, and soon they had offers pouring in from venues in Tennessee, Louisiana, and West Virginia, all offering them discounts

Their story earned quite a bit of attention, and soon they had offers pouring in from venues in Tennessee, Louisiana, and West Virginia, all offering them discounts

They have settled on The Grove at Williamson Family Farm in Murfreesboro, Tennessee

They have settled on The Grove at Williamson Family Farm in Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Their story earned quite a bit of attention, and soon they had offers pouring in from venues in Tennessee, Louisiana, and West Virginia, all offering them discounts.

They told TMZ that they have settled on The Grove at Williamson Family Farm in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

They’ve also found a pro-LGBTQ photographer, Jared Laycock from Wish Well Photography.

Meanwhile, Barn in the Bend is facing backlash, getting flooded with negative reviews.

Scoop Nashville also reports that Barn in the Bend has been dropped from several wedding referral websites.

‘While the fallout from this has been unexpected, it turns out a lot of people don’t like those practices and wanted to voice that,’ Gill said.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk