A couple was turned away from hosting their wedding at a popular venue after the owner find out that they were both “he”.
Mike Gill and Coty Heaton had inquired about getting married at Barn in the Bend, an event venue in Madison, Tennessee.
The couple is excitedly planning their nuptials after getting engaged on July 10.
Things appeared to be going fine with the planning, and the Barn sent two different pricing options for the wedding in an email to Mike.
The signature line of the first email from the Barn’s owner, Jackie Daniel, read: “we offer same-sex marriage ceremonies only,” so Mike had no reason to expect a problem.
Mike had spoken on the phone to Jackie to express interest in August. After they talked, Jackie emailed him some price options and offered to set up a tour. But an hour later, Jacki sent Mike another email to check the gender of his future spouse.
The email reads: “I am not sure but I believe I remember you calling me last week. Did you mention that your partner was a “he” If I’m wrong I’m sorry. Just let me know if we need to proceed with the 4:00 appt tomorrow.”
“However, I don’t want to waste your time since we do not offer same-sex marriages here,” it added.
And the email had a new footer message that reads, “we do not offer same-sex marriage ceremonies.”
Mike responded to the email saying he would tell others that they were turned away from the venue. To which Jackie replied: “I’m sorry but due to my religious beliefs I have chosen this policy and for that reason alone. I wish you the best in life and the best future in all that you do.”
“I see you wasted no time with the reviews and that too is your right just as my choice of ceremony types at my venue is my choice,” the email added. “That is why people have lots of choices out there and I know you will find a perfect fit for you and your partner.”
Mike and Coty have since blasted Barn in the Bend as bigoted and homophobic, sharing their troubling email exchange on social media.
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 venue’s policy.
Following the deluge of negative reviews, the Barn in the Bend set its website to “private” and shut down its social media presence.
But they revealed to TMZ 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 said offers came in from Tennessee, West Virginia, and even as far away as Louisiana, and many offered big discounts to hold the wedding.
The pair eventually settled on The Grove at Williamson Family Farm in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The couple also received discounted offers from photographers, opting to go with Jared Laycock of Wish Well Photography.
With an inclusive venue and photographer locked down, the couple is still on the hunt for a caterer and florist comfortable with working a gay wedding.
Todrick Hall, American Idol’s star chimed in on the controversy and told TMZ that “it’s actually an example of privilege — heterosexual privilege” and gave a shout-out to Mike and Coty for “shedding light on it.”