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Same-sex couple denied tour of wedding venue

By Danielle Jackson

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    NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WSMV) — A Nashville same-sex couple were denied for a wedding venue tour at Barn In The Bend in Madison because of their sexuality.

Michael Gill became engaged to his fiancé in July. Since then, they’ve been searching for a wedding venue for their wedding ceremony next year.

Gill reached out to the owner of Barn In The Bend last week in hopes of finding a wedding venue, and heard back from the owner after she got back from vacation. The owner reached out to Gill asking for clarification on the sex he said he was marrying.

“Then she said I just want to confirm I thought you said you were marrying a man and if that’s the case, then we don’t do same-sex marriages, so I don’t want to waste your time,” said Gill.

Gill said this is the first time he has been denied service because of his sexuality and who he chooses to marry. He shared the venue’s stance on social media to warn others, including friends and family. The post received over 900 shares.

“I would like to make it clear that again my intent was to let people know that this is not a venue you should be looking into. This is a venue that’s not open to our community, don’t bother,” said Gill.

Gill said he received both positive and negative messages from people on social media. He’s appreciative of all the supportive messages and suggestions.

Originally the couple was drawn to the venue because of its beauty and its affordability.

“We’re trying to find places that, you know, kind of fit in our budget, and it was a pretty setting and it looked gorgeous from the outside and that’s what kind of drew us there,” said Gill.

News4 visited Barn In The Wind on Wednesday. No one wanted to speak about the incident.

Jackie Daniel, the co-owner of Barn In The Wind, sent a statement to News4.

“I’m sorry but due to my religious beliefs I have chose 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.”

“The woman was very nice in her messages, but just being nice doesn’t cover up the fact that you’re being a bigot,” said Gill.

Phil Cobucci with Nashville Pride said it’s a shame these types of discriminatory acts still occur.

“We have to pass the Equality Act and we’re calling on the Senate in order to do so because that allows for protection of gender identity and sexuality as a protected class,” said Cobucci.

Gill said he doesn’t want to change their minds, just wants to warn others about their policy. He believes they should make it more known.

“I’m sorry that people have reached out to you and are giving you hate. That was not my intention,” said Gill. “I really wanted to make it clear to my friends and my family.”

Gill said he’s received tons of support after posting it online, some people going as far as offering venue alternatives in Nashville.

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