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Tennessee Venue Tells Gay Iraq War Vets to Go Elsewhere for Their Commitment Ceremony: VIDEO


Mint Springs Farm, a private Nolensville, Tennessee wedding venue, told Anthony Wilfert and Brian Blas, Iraq war veterans and a couple of nine years, that they could hold a commitment ceremony there and then canceled on them two days later, WSMV reports:

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."

Watch WSMV's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

WSMV Channel 4

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  1. The owner of Mint Springs wan never being asked to participate in the event. They're a venue, and they're paid for the space and physical supplies such as chairs, tables, etc.

    Forget whether an event is gay or straight, this sounds more like a contracts case.

    Posted by: Elsewhere1010 | Apr 28, 2014 2:33:07 PM

  2. illegal != legally recognized

    Also a wedding is different from a marriage

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 28, 2014 2:37:10 PM

  3. Pretty sure "all-inclusive" refers to the package of services they offer, not their willingness to welcome all couples, sad to say.

    Posted by: David | Apr 28, 2014 2:40:15 PM

  4. It doesn't even sound like a wedding, it's a commitment ceremony, way different. So, unless I'm wrong, Tenn. doesn't have a law against those, right?

    Sounds to me like the guys employees thought the owner was far less of an ass than reality proved him to be.

    Posted by: johnny | Apr 28, 2014 2:41:36 PM

  5. Their facebook page is manned, they remove all non-flattering comments immediately...

    Posted by: SPOT | Apr 28, 2014 2:49:14 PM

  6. Why spend all that time & money for a commitment ceremony when they could travel to DC or some other state where it's legal? They have better choices.

    Posted by: John P. | Apr 28, 2014 2:52:48 PM

  7. @Johnny - Whether a commitment ceremony or an actual wedding, not a single state in the union has a law against either. Most, however do not recognize the marriages of same sex couples. Non-recognition does not equal illegality.

    Posted by: Sammy | Apr 28, 2014 2:53:02 PM

  8. TN doesn't have a law prohibiting anyone from doing anything on their own. It prevents the state from acknowledging SSM.

    This is just a stoopid reading of the legal situation.

    Posted by: Bill | Apr 28, 2014 3:08:33 PM

  9. The owner is being quite block-headed or mealy-mouthed. The commitment ceremony is not illegal simply because the state doesn't have gay marriage, so no one is in any legal jeopardy. Does the owner know this? If so, it's a lame excuse. If not, perhaps a lawyer can explain it to them. However, a gay-friendly venue might be better overall for them.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 28, 2014 3:10:32 PM

  10. I say call the venue and politely tell them why their position is both heinous and a complete cop out. Just to help them understand.

    If this were any straight couple people would be furious.

    Posted by: KevenT | Apr 28, 2014 3:23:18 PM

  11. If a fundamentalist Evangelical church sponsored one of those Father-Daughter evenings involving the father presenting his daughter with a promise ring to ensure her virginity and purity until her marriage could that be seen as a "commitment ceremony"....or incest by the owners of Mint Springs?

    Posted by: shanestud | Apr 28, 2014 3:46:10 PM

  12. Well it gives the lie to, and exposes, that hollow salutation I have heard for years:
    'Thank you for your service.'

    Fair words and foul deeds.
    A bit like 'Love the sinner , hate the sin.'
    Yes, all hypocrisy.

    Sigfreid Sassoon got it right when he wrote of the names on the New Menin Gate :
    'Never was an immolation so belied as these intolerably nameless names.'

    Iraq, Afghanistan - all those soldiers killed and maimed now suffering the indifference of bigots. What's the difference between a gay or straight soldier when your unit is under attack ?
    These bigots are despicable.....hiding behind an idiot's view of what's legal/not recognized.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Apr 28, 2014 5:07:01 PM

  13. The venue is making sound like there is some law that is preventing them from hosting this type of event. They might have some conditional use permit that states they are only allowed to host weddings.

    It's still ridiculous, but I wish that the journalists involved had actually done 15 minutes work by asking some follow up questions about what is going on here.

    This is poor storytelling.

    Posted by: Mick | Apr 28, 2014 5:35:53 PM

  14. Same-sex marriage IS legal there. It's just not recognized. They should sue.

    Posted by: Randy | Apr 28, 2014 6:05:59 PM

  15. "They should sue."

    For what? Refusing gay people is perfectly legal in TN.

    What they should do is get married in a state where it's possible. Then have a party back home.

    Posted by: BobN | Apr 28, 2014 6:38:51 PM

  16. talk about no backbone! These venue owner/s are chicken! and full of it! State law is not dictating policy to them....it is discrimination and ignorance!!

    Posted by: Bernie | Apr 28, 2014 6:47:49 PM

  17. Hey Andrew Sullivan gays (and that's what those who defend that apologetic blowhard are known as now)....where's the outrage about Christians denying so many things to gays? You latch on to one story like Eich yet ignore or ENDORSE stories of gays being rejected and EJECTED by Christians. #donttrustgaychristians

    Posted by: Spacedial | Apr 28, 2014 7:50:44 PM

  18. Just proving that the real militant bullies in society are STILL religious heterosexuals. Do not let privileged 'hashtagtivist' LGBT on social media tell you otherwise. It's still militant religious heteros ruling society, law and every bracket of life.

    Posted by: Two Dads | Apr 28, 2014 7:52:06 PM

  19. ....I'm SURE Andrew Sullivan will write an in depth piece about this...right....right? No? Oh. Can't get on television for it, never mind.

    Posted by: Kyle C. | Apr 28, 2014 7:52:49 PM

  20. And people claim homophobia isn't as real as other forms of hate? PLEASE. It's the most socially acceptable form of hate, and worse...GAYS are the first to promote homophobia as being reasonable. Especially rich gays with no grasp of how societal homophobia demoralizes a community, and same sex families and children.

    Posted by: Hughes | Apr 28, 2014 7:54:51 PM

  21. Anyone who says "just go marry in some other state" COMPLETELY misses the point of our civil rights movement and the concept of FREEDOM. Not everyone has the opportunity to just travel to another state NOR SHOULD THEY HAVE TO. They are TAXED CITIZENS. They have every right to fight for marriage in their state, and expose those who prevent them from even staging a ceremony for themselves in any state.

    No, we will not stand in the back of the line.

    Posted by: T.J | Apr 28, 2014 7:57:49 PM

  22. They say "they only do weddings." So apparently, it's a marketing/branding issue as opposed to discrimination, and they're denying this couple the venue, because they don't want to open the floodgates to all those co-habitating straight couples out there who want one of those new-age commitment ceremony type things just so they can forego all the rights and responsibilities that come with a bona fide marriage, but then can still hold themselves out to all their friends and family with something that imitates marriage. Yet, in reality, these straight couples can pack it in and get out of their non-legally binding domestic arrangements any time they want. Good move Mint Springs Farm! We really don't want any more of that type of thing goin' on in society now, do we? (RME)

    Posted by: Retro | Apr 28, 2014 7:59:50 PM

  23. Sad story! Move to DC and Maryland, the more accepting parts of the south

    Posted by: Reality | Apr 28, 2014 8:09:51 PM

  24. What a beautiful amazing couple. Thank you for your service. And thank you for exposing this story.

    Posted by: Dan | Apr 28, 2014 8:14:51 PM

  25. Let's just imagine for one sec if a gay venue owner declined to allow a religious couple because they were Christian to hold a wedding at their venue. There would be so much press that it would eclipse the Clippers racism story. That's the double standard between heterosexism and our community. They feel ENTITLED to their bigotry.

    Posted by: Bobcats | Apr 28, 2014 8:15:58 PM

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