Same-Sex Couple Speaks Out After Wedding Videographers Pull Out, Citing 'Beliefs'

Same-Sex Couple Speaks Out After Wedding Videographers Pull Out, Citing 'Beliefs'

A same-sex couple have spoken out to their local news outlets after a pair of Charlottesville-based wedding videographers refused to work with them after learning their sexual orientation.

Paula Fries and Katie Brown spoke to CBS19 about their struggle to find a wedding videographer, saying they landed on Gardenia, a husband and wife wedding team operated by Brett and Alex Sandridge, after watching some of their videos and enjoying their work. Fries and Brown claim they were upfront with anyone who would potentially be working on their wedding about it being same-sex, saying it was “in every email correspondence with vendors.” So, it came as a surprise when, having already been sent a contract and an invoice for a down payment, the couple received a further emailing notifying them that there’d been a change of plans.

The email from Brett Sandridge cancelling Gardenia’s involvement in the wedding read in part:

We have decided that we would not be the best match to film your wedding. We are just really wanting to stay true to our beliefs.

Understandably upset, Brown added that one of the most frustrating parts had been that the couple ceased communication with all of the other potential wedding videographers they had been looking to book after the initial interest from Gardenia. Gardenia’s Facebook page has since been deactivated after a backlash that saw users leaving negative reviews.

Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused a pair of customers for being gay, citing his religious beliefs.

Jack Alexander's picture

A 28-year-old self-taught photographer, Jack Alexander specialises in intimate portraits with musicians, actors, and models.

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Look, I won't pretend to have the wisdom to know how homosexuality is supposed to fit within the Christian worldview in light of the fact that it seems pretty clear that it's not merely a lifestyle choice as so many people reduce it to. I'm happy to hear that your friend has made a decision on some level to work with who he is and what he feels rather than ignore it and do the socially acceptable thing by marrying some girl, having children, and living a big lie as so many gay men do.

I get that participating in a gay marriage might violate the beliefs of a Christian, but what if selling a home to a black person happens to violate the beliefs of a person that genuinely beliefs that black people should not be allowed to own property? Should a realtor selling a home be allowed to ignore calls and offers from black people based on the fact that entertaining such calls and offers would be participating in an activity that violates their beliefs? Maybe I own a restaurant and I hold an honest belief that Hispanic people should only be eating beans and rice (Can you prove that I don't actually believe this?). Should I then be allowed to refuse to serve them caviar if they order it? After all, doing so would be in direct violation of my beliefs—regardless of how absurd those beliefs may be.

Like I said, when you make one exception, you have to make a whole bunch of other exceptions. From the eyes of the government, the beliefs of a Christian are no more valid than the beliefs of a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Just curious why you feel qualified to make pronouncements regarding homosexuality. Seriously! I don't know anything about why they do...well, anything. I've talked to several and some, VERY close to me. The ones I know are less sure of these things than most straight people who make claims, similar to yours.

In what way am I making "pronouncements regarding homosexuality" other than it's pretty clearly not just merely some sort of "lifestyle choice" as so many Christians seem to frame it—at least so far a scientific research would seem to suggest.

As for why I feel qualified to dismiss the simplistic "lifestyle choice" explanation, I would point to a overwhelming amount of research on the subject of homosexuality in everything from humans to animals that suggests that it's a lot more complicated than a bunch of kids following some sort of fad fueled by a gay-friendly media as I've seen so many Christians claim. Have I gone out and personally done the research myself? Of course not, but I feel similarly qualified to say that if you think that the Sun orbits the Earth, you're ill informed despite having never been to space to see the arrangement of the solar system firsthand, never done the mathematics, and never doing a lick of actual research beyond reading the consensus of the scientific community in the form of textbooks.

I don't see anywhere where I made any sort of claim to understand WHY a homosexual person is homosexual. Human being are complicated creatures so I don't imagine that there would be a universal answer to this across the board. For some, it might just be a conscious lifestyle choice that they decided to make. Some others are probably just born with homosexual predispositions as a matter of genetics. I don't imagine asking any single homosexual individual about their personal reasons would give you much any more insight regarding the population as a whole as asking any single football player why they play football would say anything about football players in general.

Besides, I'm pretty sure that your homosexual friends would probably know enough about themselves to be able to say that ti's NOT as simple as they up and decided one day to make a lifestyle choice to be gay.

It seems to me you're all over the map with this comment and don't really know any of it for sure. I don't know any of these answers myself, and seriously doubt ANYONE else does, either. It's been interesting but not anymore. I'm done.
Just to be clear, I think you're a good guy and appreciate all the time and thought you've put into every comment you've made. Maybe next time we can debate who's ML is better, when they're all out. I'm rooting for Nikon even though I'll never have one. :-)

Nikon all the way. :P

your comment bringing in Judaism is so false that it is anti-semitic by it's absolute misrepresentation of Jewish belief and practice, Reform Judaism is the largest branch of Judaism in the USA. Not only are same-sex marriages allowed, but LGBT rabbis and cantors are ordained.Conservative Judaism also ordains LGBT clergy.As a "Christian" do you have the integrity to admit you got your facts wrong and misrepresented Jewish belief and practice?

How Judaism allow integration into their community is rather fascinating and it's not as black and white as you make it. It's a rather contradictory stance.

Assuming you're right, and I don't know one way or the other, I'm not sure how it rises to anti-Semitism. People can be misinformed or incorrectly extrapolate from the things they *do* know to be true. There's a big difference between lying and being wrong. I'm wrong all the time; just ask my wife. ;-)

Just curious, since you seem knowledgeable on the subject, are you Jewish?


It also endorses slavery right?

Actually, no. I'm surprised you thought that, having read it. You have read it, right. I know you wouldn't just make stuff up. :-/

Of course it does. It gives specific instructions on who can be slaves (Leviticus 25:44-46), how to treat your slaves (Exodus 21:20-21), how long someone can be your slave( Exodus 21:2-6), etc. Hell, it talks a lot more about the specifics and justifications for slavery than it does for homosexuality.

That's very different from endorsing slavery. And, from God's point of view (yes, I feel qualified to do that), what you do with your situation is more important than your situation. A slave can have a positive impact on the lives of everyone around them just as easily as a king can have a negative impact.

Leviticus 25:44-46 - The Lord said unto Moses at Sinai..."'Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly."

That is your God endorsing slavery.

There's a difference between allowing and endorsing. You can tell from the use of "may" as opposed to "should" or some other such adverb. That's an adverb, right?

As an example, some of the Pharisees asked Jesus if it was lawful to get a divorce. He replied in a way that seemed to indicate it wasn't (that's a whole other discussion). They replied that Moses allowed them to. Jesus replied that it was allowed due to their being so stubborn. Wow, that was a much better example than I can usually come up with! :-)

Anyway, you can't, or rather shouldn't, take verses out of context. In the Bible's case, context is provided by God. It's all very "smoke and mirrors" stuff! ;-)

Oh horseshit, Sam. "Your male and female slaves are to come from from the nations around you." No "may" in that clause (which in itself is a depressing grasp at straws). If you're so damn delusional that you can't see what is directly written in the book, you're hopeless. And really, even if you believe he is only "allowing" slavery, you're ok with that? That's a pretty immoral shitty God.

"Context is provided by God" is an equally cop-out argument. You can find a moral justification for anything you want if that's your position, which is exactly why this book is basically worthless in modern discussions of morality. And why it's useless to argue with you if you just fall back on the "cuz God" stuff.

And yeah, it is all "smoke and mirrors." (Look up the definition of 'smoke and mirrors' and 'humanism' while you're at it). It is indeed all an illusion. Surprised you admit that.

The "smoke and mirrors" line was a joke. I'm trying to get you to lighten up but you're a tough audience.

I actually kinda agree with you. In any debate, the two sides have to establish a baseline. Mine is "cuz God" while yours is "horseshit". ;-)

I'm not trying to get you to agree with me. We both know that's no more likely than me agreeing with you. I was sorta hoping you could explain your point of view and I could explain mine and then we'd understand each other a little better. There's nothing wrong with disagreement if done in a productive way.

I'm quite familiar with the term "humanism" and it means, and I used it, exactly in the way I intended. I didn't address it before because you closed the subject. Since you brought it back up...

Edit: Oops! I almost forgot. I'm okay with anything God wants to do.

I understand you better now: you are okay with slavery. That's all I need to know.

Well if that's what you got out of all that...

Yep. Sam Fargo is okay with slavery.

Slavery has multiple meanings in the ancient world, Africans had (still does) have several models. slaves of war (captured soldiers), slaves of debt, indentured slaves when a village can no longer support their children the trade with another village for education and of course child brides was a form of slavery.

All of these methods of slavery are wrong and I wouldn’t want my God to allow any of them. These other forms of slavery (indentured servants, debt, etc.) are referred to in other sections of Leviticus. I specifically choose passages regarding the purchase of human beings as property for life. You know; the really evil one that God really shouldn’t endorse.
And the fact that Africans has slaves is moot: all slavery is wrong. I think you were referring to the oft-mentioned argument that Confederate apologists use to justify the slave trade in America: “We’ll, they do it too!” Which doesn’t apply here (and is a pretty shit excuse even when relevant to the discussion).

It seems like you don't believe in God.
If so, why not just say that? Are you attempting to convince others He doesn't exist? And if so, why?
If you do believe in God but believe the Bible is wrong or misinterpreted, perhaps you could educate us regarding His nature and how you've come to your conclusions.

I don’t pretend to know the answer either way, and find those who are convinced either way to be delusional or disingenuous. That’s all I care to share with you.

Fair enough. I just prefer to know how someone really feels about a subject. A lot of people argue this or that and don't even have a dog in the race. As an aside, you can't believe and know; it's one or the other.

I'm an unapologetic capitalist and if two entities want me to shoot their wedding, I'd do it as long as what they were doing wasn't breaking any laws.

Having said that, what I don't get is this; what if the couple in the story took the photographer to court and the court forced the photographer to shoot the wedding? Why in heaven's name would you want someone that you know isn't going to make his/her best effort to do it?

It's like the baker that didn't want to make a cake for a wedding that he disagreed with. Think about it; as disgusting as this sounds, what's to stop that baker from putting a couple of fly wings in the mix? Nobody would ever know but the baker. No thanks.

"How about someone who wants to marry their pet? "

Why does this thought idea, fear, desire, WTF come up so often in an otherwise normal discussion? I love my dog but don't want to marry him (and that would be a same sex / pet marriage! ) But if he could get a driver license, I would have no problem with that.

PS Satanists have their own photographers, they use mirrorless :)

Apparently a lot of homophobes spend a lot of time thinking about bestiality

You're getting less interesting all the time. In fact, you're becoming very predictable. When I see down votes, I almost always know when it's you before looking.

Awesome comment. A terrific, balanced perspective on the issue.

your examples
are illegal activities. You outed yourself as a bigot when you compared to a same-sex wedding to child or animal marriages. Sex with kids and animals are illegal. That you see the on the same level says a lot...

Ann, I would suggest that in your hurriedness to come on here and start calling people bigots, homophobes and imply an obsession with bestiality; that you failed to understand what was written. If any comparison was made, it was among certain wedding situations that people may object to - not of the moral equivalency of such situations. And for the record, child-bride weddings are regretfully perfectly acceptable in parts of the world. You may think that people like the photographers in the article above are what’s wrong with this world. I would propose that its much more likely those who can’t respectfully tolerate a difference in beliefs other than their own, and seek to ostracize, name-call, and label those who do.

Very very well said. Your message clearly explains why both sides are justified in their concerns.

I think the only bad thing was that they "changed their mind" a bit late(?), but the reason itself... come on, would a vegan film a butcher's work? Wedding photography/filmography is not a first need, like some common services, so there's no law that can force you to serve everyone. I wouldn't shoot religious events, for example ;)

In the US neither vegans or butchers are protected classes.

Frankly, I think the idea of a "protected class" is silly. How can you have equal justice if some people enjoy protections, others don't? Crimes are committed against people, not classes of people.

I feel for the couple, if in fact they were honest from the beginning and told the vendors it just seems weird that they agreed and then decided to change their mind? If it is against their beliefs they why not say no from the beginning? Everyone is certainly entitled to their own beliefs, personally when I shoot a wedding my mindset is that I am being paid to give a service and to capture the moments in other people's lives, but it doesn't mean I have to agree with it. Guess they feel differently. I do think it is a shame that you refuse services because you disagree, would it be ok to refuse to sell them goods at a store? Maybe the photographers just don't see it that way I guess.

Although I'm OK with if a photographer/videographer doesn't want to work because of beliefs, if the couple can prove that they made it obvious up front of being same sex and still accepted a deposit from them, then the same sex couple have a right to sue them. The photographer/videographer should have said from the first contact that they would not work with them due to their beliefs.

Because a law suit fixes everything, right? :-/

Yes, when you've lost time and money, absolutely.

It doesn't appear they've lost any money. I'll be sitting in the airport all night because the airline decided someone else's flight was more important than mine. Should I sue them for my lost time? :-/

That's your choice.They put a deposit down. They could have put that deposit down on a photographer would would have agreed to shooting their wedding.Technically they may not have "lost" it yet, but now they have to wait until the photographer/videographer decides to refund them. That could be an extended period of time. Meanwhile their money is tied up. The photographer should have never accepted the deposit and made it obvious from the first contact that they would not do the shoot due to their beliefs. That's unprofessional and unscrupulous to accept the money and then not do the job.

I understand your point but maybe they thought they could do the job. It happens. Would it be any different if they accepted the job and realized it was too big or complicated or whatever? I basically agree with you but I *think* you, and others, are making way more of this than is there.

If the couple indeed made it obvious from the start they were a same sex couple as they claim (and have the emails to back up their claim, which apparently they do), then no, it's not "making more of this than is there". The photographer/videographer took the money knowing full well they would not do the assignment. They deserve all the legal ramifications of it they can get.

You're assuming they "(knew) full well they would not do the assignment." I'm assuming they thought they could but later realized they couldn't. Neither of us knows for sure but I'd rather think the best of people and be wrong than think the worst and be wrong.

They thought they could do it and then they couldn't? Huh? Did they convert after they sent the contract?

Well, of course I have no idea what went on in their heads. I'm just saying, it's possible, they thought the nature of the event wouldn't bother them and realized later it did. I'm inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt, no matter the circumstances or my feelings on the matter. In another part of this article, I similarly defended the women.

Man thats a brain killer, and the complexity of these situations makes them hard to resolve.

My 2 cents:

1. Everyone has the right to their beliefs as individuals.
2. No individual should ever be forced compromise their beliefs in service, or servitude.
3. There is no one belief that makes one greater than another.

When a need, want, or desire by anyone arises for a product, or service, they are not entitled to dictate the actions of others to fulfill the demand.

My 3 Cents:

All men (woman included) are created equal with unequal beliefs, standards, and biases. Resolving any of this requires certain standards to be placed among all people. Those standards are also dictated by people which have their own beliefs and and......and. Im done. This is too much for me today.

Just love people without trying to make them love you back. Does that make sense?

1. Agreed
2. There are about 4000 religions today. Most of them, like Christianity, has ridiculous "facts". Rationality and generic good moral should be more important than irrational beliefs when it comes to things like this, in my opinion.
3. Well, beliefs that is supported by modern science is greater than superstition, right?

1. Thanks!
2. Religion is man-made, though that does not mean there is no God.
3. That depends. To answer yes, or no would be pointless, because there is nothing greater than truth. The truth will never be discovered in its entirety because the infinite complexity of the universe, and we don’t live too long.

IMHO, the only real answer is to love people without expecting to be loved back.

Man that got too deep for a Wednesday afternoon.

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