Same-sex couple given approval by wedding venue, then denied - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Same-sex couple given approval by wedding venue, then denied

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • With 'Tent City' closed, Huntsville's homeless scattered

    With 'Tent City' closed, Huntsville's homeless scattered

    Thursday, August 28 2014 7:42 PM EDT2014-08-28 23:42:28 GMT
    Homeless people who had once camped at a central location are now set up in other areas of the city, and said they still receive assistance from churches and other organizations.More >>
    Homeless people who had once camped at a central location are now set up in other areas of the city, and said they still receive assistance from churches and other organizations.More >>
  • Madison police seek tips on burglary suspect

    Madison police seek tips on burglary suspect

    Thursday, August 28 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-08-28 22:59:53 GMT
    Police are asking for tips on the location of 38-year-old Julius Kareem Townsend, who is approximately 5'6, 175 pounds with short hair.More >>
    Police are asking for tips on the location of 38-year-old Julius Kareem Townsend, who is approximately 5'6, 175 pounds with short hair.More >>
  • Animal Services director on administrative leave

    Animal Services director on administrative leave

    Thursday, August 28 2014 6:57 PM EDT2014-08-28 22:57:50 GMT
    To either keep or fire Carol Wicks as Director of Animal Services will be a decision made by the city council. If it comes to that, it would be put on a Decatur City Council meeting agenda for further review.So far, it is not on the agenda for their next meeting on Sep 2. If the issue comes before the city council, that's when we hope to find out why Mayor Kyle decided to put Wicks on paid administrative leave.He will not comment on it, saying he cannot talk about a pending personnel issue. W...More >>
    To either keep or fire Carol Wicks as Director of Animal Services will be a decision made by the city council. If it comes to that, it would be put on a Decatur City Council meeting agenda for further review.So far, it is not on the agenda for their next meeting on Sep 2. If the issue comes before the city council, that's when we hope to find out why Mayor Kyle decided to put Wicks on paid administrative leave.He will not comment on it, saying he cannot talk about a pending personnel issue. W...More >>
NOLENSVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Two Iraq War veterans said they'd picked the perfect venue for their same-sex commitment ceremony. They said just days after employees told them they could hold their ceremony there, the owner called it off, saying they can't host the event until same-sex marriage is legal in Tennessee.

"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."

"It is a private venue," said Wilfert. "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," said Blas.

In a statement to Channel 4, an owner at Mint Springs Farm said, "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. 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. 

This decision does not in any way reflect or convey any personal feelings on this matter. 
We wish this couple the very best."

"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.

As for Wilfert and Blas, they said they're making new plans for a day friends and family can gather to celebrate their nine years.

"We'll go somewhere else, and I think that'll make for a better wedding at the end of the day," said Blas.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

1414 North Memorial Parkway
Huntsville, AL 35801
256-533-4848

WAFF Is a Proud Member
of the Raycom Family of Stations


FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WAFF. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.