Tennessee Wedding Venue That Turned Away Iraqi War Veteran Couple Does About-Face on Gay Policy


Yesterday we reported that Mint Springs Farm, a wedding venue in Tennessee, had turned away a gay Iraqi war veteran couple of nine years who were planning a commitment ceremony there.

Today comes word that the venue has changed its policy.

Via the Tennessee Equality Project:

"As owners of Mint Springs farm we have had time to regroup and reflect. We have reached out to the community and started a dialogue with Tennessee Equality Project. The Executive Director, Chris Sanders was able to meet with us. In order to move forward we have decided to change our policy. We will offer commitment ceremonies for any future couples that have a legal license from other states or countries. We also want to broaden this offer to include couples who simply want a commitment ceremony with no intention of obtaining legal marriage license. This will be our policy moving forward, it will remain true to all future prospective clients."


  1. Alex Parrish says

    Whether it was political, financial or moral pressure which changed their policy — it doesn’t really matter. They reconsidered and decided to treat all people with equal respect and for that they deserve our support.

  2. Chazwm says

    Congrats to this couple, and also to the Tennessee Equality leadership and to the Mint Springs farm executives and staff. This is evolutionary action on all sides! Well done!

  3. Bill says

    @LITPER Yes, congrats to them. It’s called education. In their original position they stated “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”. The statement shows a misunderstanding of “gay marriage not legal in Tennessee” meaning that they were not allowed to have their venue used for a ceremony. Not everyone’s world revolves around gay issues and this could be a simple misunderstanding. However, whether you think they were sincere or not, the fact remains that the best outcome of situations like this is to see someone “evolve”, which is what happened here. Would you prefer the alternative?

  4. HawaiiBill says

    @LITPER: They stepped back, thought about it and changed their minds and policy. That may no be enough for you, but what ELSE would you have them do? Self-flagellation? Gay penance? Our battle for equality is, and has always been, about changing minds. That’s what happened. Good.

  5. Steve says

    Good for all the involved folks. The guys went through the hell of war together, they sure deserve the chance to live peacefully together. And the folks at Mint Springs Farm had their hearts in a good place when they decided to pursue an inclusive policy. Probably not easy in Tennessee but they decided to do the right thing and welcomed all lovers. That’s pretty nice in my book.

  6. Ra du says

    And, this will have ripple effects. Hopefully, any anti-gay people on the staff will see you that gays are not the evil demons they’ve been taught. I bet after they have a few gay ceremonies booked, even the most homophobic staff member will realize the gays are just normal people. They in turn will start seeing that these crazy politicians were so anti-gay are indeed just crazy nut jobs.

    This is how we start building a majority support for marriage equality. And it’s working!

  7. LaLaLalala says

    Looks like the venue really dodged a bullet there, doing the right thing for all the wrong reasons. But hey, I’ll take it if it means same sex couples can have a little bit more equality.

  8. EdA says

    From their website, it appears that this venue is barely a year old:


    It seems quite possible that this was the first time that a gay couple had sought them out, and apparently they were initially treated the same as any other potential clients. When they were turned away, it wasn’t because of any religious garbage, but apparently because of a lack of understanding of the law.

    It seems that the owners reached out and decided to do the right thing, not just for this couple but for others as well.

    I think it’s only right to give these owners the benefit of the doubt, and I hope that the couple will take this venue up on its change of heart.

    In any event, I wish the couple all the very best.

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