A gay couple in Somerset were sent an anonymous letter before their wedding day warning them the celebration “should take place far, far away” from the village where one of the grooms grew up.
Callum Hodge and Ashley Jenkins planned to hold their wedding reception on Hodge’s parents’ land in the village of Norton Malreward, which has a population of just 246.
But, according to SomersetLive, Hodge’s mother received a letter through her door shortly before the wedding on July 13, the same day as Bristol Pride.
It read: “Callum should be ashamed of himself for putting his grandparents through this. He won’t go to heaven.
“You need to lead him down a new path in life. The wedding should take place far, far away from the village. This is the consensus of the village.”
Not wanting to ruin her son’s day, she reported the letter to the police but otherwise kept it to herself until after the wedding.
She told SomersetLive: “I was absolutely gobsmacked and just devastated to read it… I didn’t want to speak to anyone or acknowledge anyone in the village because I thought everyone was out to get us.
“It is vile. It made me feel completely unwelcome in the village. The letter is so cruel and it made me very upset. I was so worried something would happen on the wedding day, like a protest or something.”
Callum Hodge went public with their story after the wedding and received support from villagers.
However, the wedding went well, with the couple officially marrying in Bristol and heading back to Norton Malreward for the reception.
Janie Hodge told her son about the letter a week later and he posted on Facebook to vent his frustration, writing: “To the Norton Malreward villager who sent my mum an anonymous letter before my wedding… I only found out about your letter this weekend and even if I had of known I wouldn’t have listened to you.
“I’m not the sort of person that lets everyone know that I am gay, because of people like you I spent so many years in denial and lost and still struggle to open up, because of people like you so many people commit suicide all over the world because they can’t face admitting who they are and that’s because of bigoted people like you!”
Hodge told SomersetLive that since he was open about the letter he has received support from villagers, showing the letter did not reflect a “consensus”.
According to SomersetLive, police are treating the incident as a hate crime and investigations are ongoing.