Gay couple ‘shocked’ by ban from Priors Court Tithe Barn

Kevin Chaffe and Ken SilveyImage copyright Kevin Chaffe
Image caption Kevin Chaffe and Ken Silvey say they were left distressed after being told they weren’t welcome at Tithe Barn

A couple were “shocked and distressed” when their wedding reception was cancelled because they are gay.

Kevin Chaffe and Ken Silvey were told Tim Wiltshire, the owner of Priors Court Tithe Barn, was against same-sex marriages at his venue.

The decision was slammed on social media, prompting Mr Wiltshire to apologise to the Gloucester couple.

“I now realise that my initial reaction was inappropriate in modern society for which I am truly sorry,” he said.

The couple are getting married in Malvern in March and have now arranged a different reception venue.

Mr Chaffe said when their wedding planner met Mr Wiltshire and it became clear the booking was for a gay couple, the owner said he would not let them use the 13th Century venue.

He said: “I was just surprised that somebody would openly stand there and say you’re not allowed to do something based on your sexuality.”

Image copyright Priors Court
Image caption The owner of Priors Court Tithe Barn apologised for the decision

When the couple shared their story on social media, dozens of people left comments on the Priors Court Facebook page criticising the owner’s stance.

“This is why many young people and adults fear coming out and accepting who they are,” said one.

Another posted: “You don’t deserve to be able to host marriages.”

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Kevin Chaffe posted about the cancellation on Facebook

In a statement, Mr Wiltshire said the couple had made a reservation but it was not a formal booking.

He said he had “acted without thinking”, adding: “My initial reaction to the understanding that it was a same-sex marriage was completely wrong of me and I let my personal beliefs affect that of the business, which is not right.

“I now realise that my initial reaction was inappropriate in modern society for which I am truly sorry.”

He added: “I wish the couple in question future happiness and hope we can all move forward from this.”

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