By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com April 29 2014 12:24 PM ET
Just one day after a wedding venue in Tennessee informed a pair of gay veterans that they could not hold their commitment ceremony on the grounds, the Nashville property has reversed its decision and changed its policy moving forward, citing a conversation with the statewide equality organization.
After an employee with Mint Springs Farm initially told Anthony Wilfert and Brian Blas, both veterans of the Iraq war currently living in Nolensville, Tenn., that the venue would be happy to host the couple's commitment ceremony celebrating nine years together, an owner contacted Wilfert and revoked the offer, citing state law which prohibits same-sex marriage. The owner claimed that the venue only hosts legally recognized weddings, and therefore could not fulfill the couple's request.
But after a conversation with the Tennessee Equality Project, Mint Springs Farm has amended its weddings-only policy, pledging to allow weddings for couples that have a valid license from any state, and commitment ceremonies that are not legally binding.
"As owners of Mint Springs Farm we have had time to regroup and reflect," reads a statement published on the Tennessee Equality Project's Facebook page Tuesday morning. "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."
After receiving the initial rejection on Monday, Wilfert and Blas said they planned to seek a different, more welcoming venue to hold their ceremony. There has been no word from the couple on if they would reconsider hosting the event at Mint Springs Farm in light of the policy change.