"The woman was very nice in her messages but just being nice doesn't cover up the fact that you're being a bigot."
Mike Gill and Coty Heaton spent months looking for the perfect wedding venue after getting engaged earlier this year. The Nashville couple thought they'd finally found the one when they came across Barn in the Bend, a venue that advertises itself as an "excellent venue for a modern rustic wedding." "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," Gill told Bored Panda. "After going through tons of venues, this one hit all the marks and was on our list of places to tour."
TMZ picks up the story of “BARN IN THE BEND” denying a wedding to a gay couple in MADISON, just outside NASHVILLE. 🏳️🌈 https://t.co/59lkZ8vHT3— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) September 3, 2021
However, things quickly went south when the couple reached out to Jackie Daniel, who owns Barn in the Bend. At some point, Daniel realized the couple is gay and shot Gill an email with a footnote alluding to her stance on same-sex marriages. While she seems to have wanted to inform him that the venue doesn't entertain gay weddings, the email she sent him stated the exact opposite of what she actually wanted to say. "We offer same-sex marriage ceremonies only," it said. She figured out her mistake about an hour later and fired off a follow-up email with a different signature, this time saying "We do not offer same-sex marriage ceremonies."
WEDDING DENIED IN NASHVILLE: The owner of Barn in the Bend originally sent a couple a proposal for their big day with a note at the bottom that read, “We offer same-sex marriage ceremonies only.” She meant the opposite. https://t.co/m6noRHjHRs— Gene Bryant (@GeneBryant2) September 1, 2021
"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. However, I don't want to waste your time since we do not offer same-sex marriages here," she stated in the email. When Gill informed Daniel that he'd alert everyone in the area that Barn in the Bend was bigoted, the venue owner let him know her decision was based on her religious beliefs.
"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. This is why people have lots of choices out there and I know you will find a perfect fit for you and your partner," Daniel wrote. After Gill shared a screenshot of the email to Facebook with the caption, "Hey Nashville friends, if you’re planning a wedding or event make sure to steer clear of Barn In the Bend... got this lovely email today," the venue's social media and Yelp reviews took a serious hit.
However, Gill stressed that the purpose of his original post wasn't to get press or likes. "It was just to let the people in our friend circle and the Nashville area know about this venue and their unfortunate business practices," he said. "It's frustrating that just because we are a same-sex couple we don't have the same options as any other couple." Speaking to WSMV-TV, Gill elaborated further on why he decided to post about the venue rejecting them. "My intent was to let people know this is not a venue you should be looking into. This is a venue that's not open to our community, don't bother," he said.
You know USA still has issues when gay couples have problems finding vendors for wedding in TN - ***good news**** - community stepped up and offered locations and discounts. #lgbtq #equality #tn love is love https://t.co/6yfhqO5cmc— make it up (@Tweetingnowforu) September 21, 2021
"The woman was very nice in her messages but just being nice doesn't cover up the fact that you're being a bigot," Gill added. He and his partner have since found another venue. "It's called The Grove at Williamson Family Farm," Gill revealed. "Our focus now is to start planning a really great wedding and party for our friends and family to be a part of. This was an unfortunate start to the process but it's helped us to find so many more options we didn't know about!"