Two veterans who served in the Iraq war were given the OK to hold their commitment ceremony at a Tennessee wedding venue only to have it cancelled because the owner fears the wrath of the state, reports WSMV-4.
Anthony Wilfert and Brian Blas, who became a couple while serving at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, toured the Mint Springs Farm in Nolensville, TN., and thought it would make the perfect spot for their commitment ceremony. According to the men, two employees assured them it would be no problem for them to have their ceremony there.
“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.”
Two days later the couple received a letter from an owner of Mint Springs stating: “Unfortunately, until same sex marriage is legal in the state of Tennessee, 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.”
In a statement to WSMV, the owner explained that he knew the day would come when he faced this dilemma but was afraid to host the wedding since the state of Tennessee does not allow same-sex weddings.
“We are deeply sorry that a staff member of ours was unaware of our policy and truly understand the disappointment of this couple. Our employee was simply trying to be helpful to this couple who visited our venue after hours. We only do weddings at our facility,” the statement read. “When we went into this endeavor, we knew that due to the nature of our business, this situation would arise. However, Tennessee law currently states that same-sex marriage is prohibited by the Tennessee State Constitution. Because we only host weddings, we cannot violate Tennessee law.”
The owner also extended his best wishes to the couple.
Wilfert said, “It is a private venue. We purposefully chose a place that is not tied to a religious organization for that reason, so to mention something about state law is baffling.”
“I just think it’s a really horrible excuse for not wanting to host something,” added Blas, who said they would go elsewhere, saying, “I think that’ll make for a better wedding at the end of the day.”
The state of Tennessee is currently mired in a dispute over same-sex marriage after a Nashville judge gave the go-ahead only to have the state Attorney General win a stay from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio.
Tom Boggioni is based in the quaint seaside community of Pacific Beach in less quaint San Diego. He writes about politics, media, culture, and other annoyances. Mostly he spends his days at the beach gazing at the horizon waiting for the end of the world, or the sun to go down. Whichever comes first.
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