Tenn. Venue Rejects Gay Iraq War Vet Couple
Officials of a private wedding venue in Tennessee allegedly refused to host a wedding ceremony for two gay Iraq War veterans, Nashville, Tenn., NBC-affiliate station WSMV reports.
Anthony Willfert and his partner Brain Blas started dating nine years ago while serving with Fort Campbell, an Army installation on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, when the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was enforced.
The couple wanted to hold a commitment ceremony (gay marriage is not legal in Tennessee) and recently took a tour of private wedding venue Mint Springs Farms in Nolensville, Tenn., with an employee.
"I made it clear from the get-go that it was a same-sex ceremony," Wilfert told WSMV. "He explicitly made it clear that it was not an issue, that they would host that type of ceremony."
The couple says two employees initially said the venue would be willing to hold a same-sex ceremony. But the men received an email from Mint Springs Farm’s owner, which reportedly reads:
"Unfortunately, until same sex marriage is legal in the state of Tennesse [sic], 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."
Wilfret said he and Blas picked the venue because it is privately owned and "not tied to a religious organization." He said to mention a state law is "baffling." WSMV notes the venue’s website says, "Mint Springs Farm is an all-inclusive venue."
"I just think it’s a really horrible excuse for not wanting to host something," Blas added.