“I can honestly say when we started looking for wedding venues, we didn’t think that we would come across this at all; it was a true surprise.”
Mike Gill and Coty Heaton got engaged on July 10, 2021, and since then the Nashville couple had been looking at venues to celebrate their big day, and in August, they contacted The Barn in the Bend to tour the Madison venue, according to WJHL.
The rustic, cozy-looking barn ticked off all the boxes on their checklist, too. “We were searching for a venue that had indoor/outdoor space for our wedding, it had to be in the Nashville area and within our budget,” Mike told Bored Panda. “After going through tons of venues, this one hit all the marks and was on our list of places to tour.”
So, Mike got in touch with the owner of the barn, so they could book the place for their special day! They exchanged emails with the owner, Jackie Daniel, and things got weird very fast. In the first e-mail the owner sent, there was a highlighted bit at the bottom, where it clearly read, “We offer same-sex marriage ceremonies only.”
Daniel probably meant to write the property only allowed a man and a woman to get married, because about an hour later, Mike got a follow-up mail about an hour later with a different signature, this time saying “We do not offer same-sex marriage ceremonies.”
“I can honestly say when we started looking for wedding venues, we didn’t think that we would come across this at all; it was a true surprise,” Gill’s fiancé Coty Heaton said.
Mike immediately took to his social media to share the emails, and he received yet another mail from Daniel, telling them that her refusal to host the couple on her property is because of her religious beliefs. “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.”
“We were disappointed and hurt and angry,” Heaton said. “It is 2021; we have come too far for this.”
“We aren’t looking at churches, we knew going down a religious path would be a path of resistance,” Gill said. They added that they felt triggered and just had to tell people within their community that they would not be welcome at the venue.
Soon, the post went viral, and the venue's website and Facebook page were taken down. “My intent was never to send hate towards this person; it was never to shut down the business — anything like that,” Gill said. “People are welcome to make their choices, but when you make your policy very blatantly discriminatory and people find out about it, people don’t like it.”
Cover Image Source (Representative): Getty Images | Anthony Ching