Nigel Campbell's picture

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:

WSMV Channel 4



(H/T: Towleroad


What this boils down to is "No GLBT's" but anyone gay knows they are.  Bigotry and discrimination hide in many ways.

Time to knuckle up and improvise. Get creative and do some hard thinking. You two dont need their bullshit facility to host your commitment ceremony. Dont let the conservatives and the religious hold you back. Soldiers are made of stronger stuff. 

Thank you for serving our country and you deserve a legal wedding so come to NY and get married like we did on fire island its soooo beautiful!

Nick, please do not be so blind and act like the people hating !!! Tennessee is not an evil state, a state cannot be evil, the people that are running it can though. I am a lesbian in a stable 8 year relationship, I was born in Tennessee, raised here and so was my spouse/girlfriend.  I have traveled extensively in other states and abroad, I come back to Tennessee because that is where my family lives and I love them. My mom, brother, sister in law, my nieces and nephew.

Yes sometimes it sucks being here, Yes there are backwards people here, people living off welfare/food stamps but supporting the right, there are religious wackos, teaparty dim-wits, ect, ect.  There are also really nice people here that do agree with all that hypocrisy. The south is changing and I think that is why all the people who are haters have become so vocal lately.  The generations coming up are NOT going to be like that down here.  Instead of condeming a place you have never been do, move down here and help me change it LOL, Peace !!!!

can they not be reported for false advertising? Go online. Email them. flag their pages. out them as the liars they are

Gents come up to Chicago I will host your wedding for FRE at Table 52.The hell with those #Haters.Thank you for serving our country. Sincerely Art Smith

It is not the State of Tennessee that is at fault. It is the owners of this venue. We will always have to deal with attitudes such as this no matter if same sex marriage is accepted. 

Lets not forget that this issue is still felt in states that do recognize same sex marriage. It's not the state but the fact that certain groups need to "hate" someone.

I will never visit Mint Springs in Tennessee! This is disgraceful!

Why would anyone choose to live in an evil state like TN? Nothing but conservative demons.

Move to a better state.  Why stay in a state that hates gays anyway.  I'm sorry these guys have to deal with this bullshit. 

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