A couple in Nashville, Tennessee, were rejected by a wedding venue after the owner realized they were gay. Mike Gill and Coty Heaton had inquired about tying the knot at the Barn in the Bend, a wedding venue in Madison, Tennessee, since getting engaged in July.
On Tuesday morning, Gill received an email from owner Jackie Daniel, in which she wrote that"we appreciate your interest in our venue," and added that she would "be glad to set up a tour." However, just over an hour later, Daniel sent Gill another email to clarify his soon-to-be spouse's gender.
'We Do Not Offer Same Sex Marriages Here'
"Did you mention that your partner was a "he" 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. If I'm wrong I apologize. Just let me know if we need to proceed with the 4:00 appt tomorrow."
According to TMZ, in the initial email, the owner's signature read, "We offer same sex ceremonies only." This appears to have been a mistake as the signature in the follow-up email was corrected to read, "We do not offer same sex marriage ceremonies."
Gill told Jackie that he would let everyone in the area know that Barn in the Bend was bigoted, but Jackie told him her decision was based on her "religious beliefs."
Venue Goes Dark on Social Media, Review-Bombed on Yelp
After the story went viral on social media, the online backlash forced the venue to set its website to "private" and shut down its social media pages. According to Scoop Nashville, Barn in the Bend was dropped by multiple wedding planners, websites and referral services who permanently removed the business from their directory due to their discriminatory policies.
Barn in the Bend's TripAdvisor and Yelp pages were also flooded with negative reviews with users calling out the "homophobic" owner for discriminating against the gay couple. "This venue is HOMOPHOBIC, not inclusive and you should avoid doing business with bigots!," wrote one user.
"They hatefully refused to support legal marriages between ALL Married couples who are AMERICAN CITIZENS. They replied to a friend with a MEGA BIGOTTED and hateful message saying they will not support all Legal marriages," commented another. "Two, beautiful people who were planing a lovely ceremony just found out they had to change plans due to this venue's hatred."