Madison’s wedding venue owner denies gay couple over religious beliefs

MADISON, Tennessee (WKRN) – A gay couple from Nashville have been looking for wedding venues since their engagement in July.

After looking around, Mike Gill said he contacted The Barn in the Bend to visit Madison’s location.

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

The couple received an email response from venue owner Jackie Daniel saying it was against their policy to hold gay ceremonies.

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

Daniel told News 2 that it goes against his religious beliefs to organize a gay couple’s wedding, but she wishes them all 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 time with the reviews and it’s also your right, just like my choice to types of ceremonies in my venue is my choice. “

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

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 on the site if either of them were looking to get married in the future.

“She’s had every opportunity to say ‘oh, this date is booked’ or ‘oh, we’re booked for this 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 hatred towards this person, it was never to shut down the business something like that. People are invited to make their choices, but when you make your policy very discriminatory and people find out, people don’t like it, ”said Gill.

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

Todd said it was muddy legal ground as one side argues for discrimination while another fights for religious freedom.

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

Ruth R. Culp