Gay Iraq War Veterans Denied Service By Tennessee Wedding Venue For Commitment Ceremony
Two gay Iraq war veterans are suddenly looking for a new venue to hold their commitment ceremony after their planned Tennessee venue had a change of heart and decided same-sex couples weren't welcome.
From Nashville's WSMV:
"It's pretty disheartening," said Anthony Wilfert of Nolensville. "I would've thought in 2014 that we're a lot more ahead of our time than we are."
Wilfert and Brian Blas became a couple nine years ago while serving with Fort Campbell.
"We served under Don't Ask, Don't Tell," said Wilfert.
Looking for a place to hold a commitment ceremony, Wilfert and Blas said an employee took them on a tour of Mint Springs Farm where they believed the rustic charm and fences along winding roads would be the perfect backdrop. The website even says, 'Mint Springs Farm is an all-inclusive venue.'
"I made it clear from the get-go that it was a same-sex ceremony," said Wilfert. "He explicitly made it clear that it was not an issue, that they would host that type of ceremony."
Wilfert and Blas said days after two employees told them it'd be fine to hold their ceremony at the venue, they got an e-mail from an owner at Mint Springs Farm reading, "Unfortunately, until same sex marriage is legal in the state of Tennesse, we cannot participate in this ceremony at our venue. I wish we could help, I truly do, but our hands are tied in this situation."
Eh...we're pretty sure your hands aren't tied on allowing a couple--any couple--to have commitment ceremony. There's no law barring it and you're a private institution so you can do what you want--which clearly you are.
Sounding off on the slight, the couple says:
"To have fought in the military for freedoms and liberties of all Americans, it can be quite deflating to come back to fight a whole new set of obstacles," said Wilfert.
"We'll go somewhere else, and I think that'll make for a better wedding at the end of the day," said Blas.
We're sure they're right--and we're pretty sure a smart, enterprising venue in Tennessee would take advantage of this situation and offer their venue to this veteran couple for a discount!!
Here's WSMV's video report: