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.

Log in or register to post comments
Previous comments

I base my morality on that which exists, rather that an invisible man in the sky. If the only thing holding you back from raping, murdering, and treating people like shit is what an ancient tribe made up to scare its people into conforming to their system of power and domination, I'm afraid you are the one without a strong moral compass. But that's just my opinion.

And btw, you should look up what humanism is. Humanism is a system by definition devoid of the primacy of a deity in dictating morality. So the goal of a humanistic society is exactly the opposite of what you belief. But of course, you have the right to be wrong.

I've been awake all night, stuck in an airport and have no idea when I'll be able to get some sleep but, when I do, I'll reply with a thoughtful and compelling argument. I just didn't want you to think I was rude by not responding. :-)


Don't bother. Seeing that you are unaware of the definitions in your own arguments and have committed yourself to a worldview based the illogical principals of ancient tribalism, I can't imagine this conversation being of any rational and substantive value to either of us.

Get some sleep and good luck with your flight! :)

Just you wait! :-) Thanks.

I really don't care to hear your moral machinations! :P

"Machinations"? I'm wounded. :-)

I'm finally on the plane and have to set this thing to airplane mode but I will be back!

More for alliterative effect than meaning. How about "moral miscalculations" instead?

And seriously, please don't respond. It's a waste of both of our time.

Safe flight!

You really can't stand to not have the last word, can you!?
I got home okay. Thanks. :-)

No, you hang up first! :)


There are many reasons why you are wrong. Morality still exists without a god and if you need a god to exist to be a moral human than I fear what you would do if you ever learned that he didn't exist. Some of us recognize that to live a good life it's best to work well with others and they usually play nice when you treat them with respect and kindness. Empathy is a result of chemical reactions in our brains that also shows up in communities of other social animals. Just like them, we evolved to show strong empathy for our kind (even other animals) because it's in our own best interest to take care of each other. Our survival rate increases.

That sounds good but, who decides what is right and wrong? I'm not talking about what should be legal and illegal. Everyone likes to pick the low-hanging fruit: murder, rape, robbery or being nice, respectful, etc.. but what about the areas which aren't so black and white? The fact is, most people already do agree on most things. How many people agree with the best way to deal with difficult situations? You see a homeless person who's obviously also a drunk. Do you give him money, fearing he'll just use it to buy alcohol and compound his problems or withhold, not knowing he intended to buy a coat for another homeless person, worse off than himself?

I don't buy the biological explanations. Sure, they seem to work in most cases but there are a lot of situations where they don't.

As for needing a god to be moral, that's an oversimplification. The fact is, we're all going to be moral sometimes and immoral sometimes. Your argument seems to be that God needs a reason to exist. What if He just does? What if He provides guidelines for morality, in the Bible, to help us when it's difficult to do the right thing? What if he speaks to our hearts with specifics? I'm not trying to convince you God exists. I'm merely saying, from a Christian POV (also applicable to most religions) God gave us an objective set of rules or, in the case of Christianity, guidelines. Use them or not. In either case, don't be surprised when someone's idea of morality (evidenced by the comments here) don't align with yours. Of course, yours are right. ;-)

OK, just for shits and giggles I'll put it out there.

Does God adhere to justice and righteousness or do the concepts of justice and righteousness only exist in relation to God? When we talk about God, we so often speak in terms of God as the objective standard from whence things like justice, righteousness, and morality derive, but to do so, aren't we basically subscribing to the notion of a cosmic tyranny—benevolent or not?

It seems pretty clear when you read the Bible that God does change His mind about things and is swayed by our mortal plights and pleas so in that sense, He would not be the objective, never-changing, standard which we make Him out to be. When we worship God, what are we actually worshiping and why? Do we worship God because He is almighty and powerful? Do we worship God because He is righteous and merciful? If it turned out that the entity that we think of as "God" was, in fact, an immensely powerful alien with the ability to manipulate the very cosmos and was the being who created humanity in the same fashion that we might develop a computer game, would you continue to worship this alien? Would this new knowledge make any actual difference to our relationship with God? Given what we know about God from the Bible—an intangible, incomprehensible, immensely powerful being with the power to shape the cosmos, construct worlds, create life, etc—how would this actually differ from the notion of an alien? Would you consider God to be an alien being?

The rituals surrounding our faith are quite interesting to think about if we really get down to the nitty gritty of what we believe. If we worship God because He is almighty, aren't we just worshiping power? If we worship God because He is good, aren't we just worshiping goodness? If God is the absolute, unchanging standard, then why do we bother to attribute qualities to God rather than attribute God to qualities? We say "God is Love", but shouldn't we instead be saying "Love is God"? It's a subtle difference, but it's a use of language that shows our understanding of the relationship between the two.

Sure, a lot of this can probably come down to the fact that our scripture was ultimately written by primitive people with limited understanding of the higher concepts of logic and reason. A person can only describe things within the framework of what they know and are capable of understanding, which is why you have nonsense like heavenly storehouses of snow being in the Old Testament. But don't the fact that we've refined our understanding of the laws of logic and the fact that we now understand things about the universe that our ancestors did not demand that we re-examine their words critically rather than simply take them as written?

We continue to write off more and more parts of scripture as having been written metaphorically in order to reconcile things that we know for a fact could not be true (eg. Joshua stopping the sun) but there's nothing really to suggest that these accounts were intended to be read as allegory or metaphor when they were written. I'm taking a short break from work, but I just thought I'd throw some unorganized, stream-of-thought vomit out there to see if anyone wants to have a nice chat. I'm a lonely person, after all. :)

Seriously, though. For Christians out there... If God came down on a spaceship one day, showed us exact miracles performed in the Bible, showed us video footage of every aspect of human history including every single biblical account, and proved undeniably that He created this world and mankind, would you still call him God and would you continue to worship Him? As ridiculous as the whole thing sounds, I think it's worth asking in order to question how we're defining God. Is it only God if He doesn't have a spaceship and we can never actually see or touch Him? Could Christianity, Judaism, or Islam survive such an event? Would we just climb into our shells and live in denial, continuing to worship and pray, hoping to God that the alien that just called himself God was not actually God?

I'm sorry. I have the attention span of a hamster and your comments are really long! If I miss the gist of your argument, please correct me.

Tyranny? Well, sorta. It's not for no reason, we're referred to as God's children. So, yes, God is a tyrant in as far as our parents are tyrants but, of course, He's benevolent.

Again, God changes His mind in the same way parents change their minds. It's not that He thinks differently but "gives in" to our plights, as you put it.

There is no "we". Everyone has their own reasons for worshipping God, some of which happen to align. When I meet a new Christian, I always ask that very question. The answer is, or should be, because we love Him. Ideally, if everything were turned upside down and God was condemned to hell (different subject) and Satan ruled heaven, we would hopefully choose to go to hell.

Nobody absolutely knows if God is real. That's by design so we can have faith. I worship the "spirit" of God. If your scenario turns out to be the case, I would not worship the alien.

What we know about God, from the Bible and life, is a lot more than your list. If you don't know that about God, search for Him. If you'd rather not, that's your business.

Again, there is no "we" who believes anything.

It should be "God is love" because He is an entity. Your wording suggests that God is an idea, that being love.

Assuming God is real and omnipotent, would he allow a bunch of "primitive people with limited understanding" to screw up His primary means of communicating with us? No. The problem isn't they didn't understand the universe but rather, most of us don't understand God. This has gone too far already but I can explain almost every instance where the Bible and current scientific thought appear to clash. They don't. No, the Bible doesn't say the earth is 6000 years old. No, it doesn't preclude the Big Bang, evolution or anything else.

The definition of a miracle is, God doing something "we know for a fact cannot be true". It's kinda a thing. ;-)

As for your summary statement, yes, it's an interesting question. :-)

Not a problem. Like I said, just thought vomit while procrastinating on the job. :P

A lot of "Christians" sure treat themselves as special. (Thank you, Jeff Walsh, for pointing out that Jesus wasn't a "Christian.") I mean, in spite of having the whole safe, stodgy religious establishment behind them, and in spite of virtually the whole of regular, mom-and-pop secular society paying at least lip service to what they believe, they consider themselves vulnerable moral victims. They agonize over what to do about gay people. Lamentable.

Most people think of themselves as special. It's normal. Your comment seems to indicate you believe yourself to be morally superior to others but that's okay; most people feel that way.

Hmm, I thought Jesus's message was all about loving others - and not treating yourself as special or as a victim.

That's true. Unfortunately, none of us are perfect and I don't know any Christians who follows Jesus' message very well. But that's the case among all people and their religions or support systems. My wife always tells me what I should do and she's usually right but, nope, I never listen. ;-)

That's the main reason I left the religion I was brought up in. Christians trumpet the "transforming power of God," but unless that transformation is tangible and visible - unless it means that they do start following Jesus's message very well - it means zilch. Otherwise, what's the raison d'etre? Going to heaven after you die? (The old eyeroll-inducing "I'm not perfect, just forgiven" thing that some Christians resort to.) But how does that help anyone else?

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and I encounter just as many people who exhibit the "fruits of the spirit" outside Christianity as in it. "No one's perfect" is lame in this case.

And, getting back to the topic, those photographers, by acting tribally (not to mention unprofessionally) towards that couple, did not show those fruits those fruits. (couldn't resist that)

Unlike a caterpillar, transforming into a butterfly, people can take a long time to be reborn. The truth is, people throw around phrases like, "transforming power of God" without knowing what they're talking about or really explaining it, if they do. According to the Bible, we'll be transformed when we see Jesus. So, not in this life.

" those fruits those fruits." :-)

As a Openly Proud gay man , I find it extremely distasteful that in this day and age something that has FULL LEGAL RIGHTS AND PROTECTION in my country ,to even "struggle" to find a PC way to comment. . Really . Come now. If these so called people of faith had issues , and by all means we are all welcome to choosing who we would like to employ .. BUT HAVE SOME TACK , some decency and not try and make a huge issue out of it.
they could have just said , " Hi , thanks , but we are going to go with another photographer " , end of story , no feelings hurt , everyone is happy.

But these Self Righteous and extremely uneducated and uncouth people HAVE to make an issue out of it.

If you were in South Africa , you would have landed up in court and fined heavily for discrimination.

ENLIGHTEN yourself , READ your BIBLE , and start , ohh please do , start to become human , just a little bit.

If your beliefs go against the law , then keep your comments to the minimum , , be respectful , be polite , and everyone wins

What has anyone Choice of Life partners got to do with Taking Photos at a wedding ? So just because a person is a single mother ,or father , would they have to disclose this to someone because they might have issues with it.

Its not like the two ladies were dry humping on the altar .. They are professional , they are there to do a job , and i am sure they are damn good at it.

Next thing you know , people will have the right to descriminate against people of color.


Are we in the stone ages ?

Just as a bit of a poke in your eye. GAY folk are helping save this planet. They are the ones who adopt homeless and unloved children. They are helping the environment by not having children.
So Mr and MISS Straight person , have another child , and put another nail in the planets coffin.

Maybe I'm confused but I thought the photographers were straight and the couple to be married are gay. That's why I'm not addressing all your statements.

As an openly proud, Christian man :-) I personally have no problem with same sex people getting married. Putting aside the morality question, being married doesn't change what they're going to do in the privacy of their home. The reasons people object are varied. I'm quite certain some people object out of hate. I'm also certain some people are concerned about the spiritual well-being of the individuals. In the letter written by the videographers, it's difficult to say if their objection is the latter but I didn't get anything like the former out of it. There are a lot of other reasons but I'll stop with those two for the purposes of this discussion. An objection I think anyone can understand though is, if you just want a record of an event, anyone can do it. For your wedding, you want art, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof. If the photographer or videographer or cake maker or dress maker is troubled for ANY reason (and yes, that's their problem) you're unlikely to get the product you want. It's not like delivering a product – they're creating it!

So, accepting, as most here do, the videographer's right to not tape the wedding, what would be the appropriate response? Well, of course they could have lied but the women were open about themselves – should the videographers "hide in a closet"? Short of that, I think their response wasn't horrible. Sure, it could have been better. I could have raised my children better but I did what I did. I could have been a better husband to my first wife but, well... I'm human. Everyone is.

As for your poke, everyone does what they do. Some good and some bad. If as an openly proud, gay man you don't want to be stereotyped as such, and I hope you don't, I don't think you should claim the good deeds as representative of the group, either. I about we just treat everyone as individuals. If that were more common, maybe the videographers would have been able to do the job and do a good job. Maybe the couple could have accepted their explanation. Maybe we could all get past our prejudices and get along. Even when we disagree.

How can you say something like this? "As an openly proud, Christian man :-) I personally have no problem with same sex people getting married.". What kind of Christianity are you following? Find one verse in the Bible that supports this.

Well, it's like this; there's marriage and then there's marriage. Adam and Eve didn't get married in the way we think of it. Neither did Abraham and Sarai. Isaac took Rebecca into his mother's tent and 'made her his wife'. No ceremony. Well... I guess it was a kind of ceremony. :-) My point is, "What God has joined..." Just because two people say stuff, exchange rings or light candles, doesn't mean God joined them. If you asked them, a lot of people don't give a shoot about God's role, even assuming they believe in Him. In fact, just because a heterosexual couple walks into a church and does the "right" things, doesn't mean God joined them. What they're doing (not just same-sex couples) is not the same thing as what God intended. Honestly, I wish there were different names for the two things. If there's anything wrong with it, it's the acts they're performing regardless of being married or not and that also applies to a lot of heterosexual couples. So, yeah, if two people want to get a license, live together and get tax breaks, I have no problem with that. I could go on and on, citing hundreds of verses to support my statement but I'm not going to.

Everything is going to be okay. God's got this!

Bring just one verse from the bible that says gay marriage is ok

I did. The operative word here is "marriage". I showed you how Jesus defines it. If God disapproves, He won't join them. Problem solved.

Where is this verse? Sorry, I might have missed it. Which text of the Bible approves gay marriages?

It's not mentioned, per se, at all! The only thing the Bible talks about is homosexual activity. We're not talking about that. In fact, while I'm not naïve enough to suggest it doesn't happen, there's nothing to say a same-sex marriage includes ANY kind of sexuality.

I don't think you want to start asking for verses of the Bible to be cherry picked... It usually doesn't go well—particularly if we get into the Old Testament stuff...

Feel free to start, but do not take things out of the context:-) When you take the verse be sure to explain what it really means in the context it was used.

And who gets to be the arbiter of what a verse "really means in the context it was used"? Do you have any idea how many theological debates there are among scholars regarding the intended meaning of Biblical passages?

I do. I study theology.

Study theology less. Read the Bible more. Don't assume the people who say, "It means such and such" know what they're talking about. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide us. Ask for that guidance. John 14:26

I study Bible 99% of the time, the very text of it. I do not read it as a historical book, but as a source of life. So what the spirit tells you about homosexual marriages? Spirit will never say anything that will deviate from the Word

I told you what the Spirit told me. That it is irrelevant. That's not to say homosexuality isn't bad, but the act of marriage isn't notable beyond that fact.

What is the Biblical text to support it?

There's no text either way. It's just Him talking to Me.

You're going to make a stereotypical preacher some day.

Funny because, examining the Bible and its historicity is one of the basic things you do as a theological student in conjunction with the spiritual teaching. Which theology school did you attend again? I think you should ask for a refund.

Oh, so you ought to be able to cite sources like any good theology student (I met plenty of them went I went to Nyack College for a while, btw).

Alright, so would you prefer to justify God ordering Samuel to commit genocide on the Amalekites or would you prefer to justify God hitting the RESET button and wiping out human civilization in a region with a great flood sparing only Noah's family after basically saying "Wow... this went off the rails."?

Where would you like to start? Feel free to take your time to Google cookie cutter responses that I've probably already read.

God is not just? You do not like His ways?

I didn't say that and your response was not an actual response. You issued a challenge and I gave you the choice of where you wanted to start.

Or are you going to just shy away by hiding behind the "God is God" and "God knows best" thing? Even a bad apologist would at least give it the good ol' college TRY...

Perhaps I can help. Alex earlier stated that we would be fine with slavery if he lived during the age of Moses. So he justifies some of the nasty bits by leaving them in historical context rather than placing them in modern moral systems.

I just submit to what is right for God and His will.

Yeah, so did Mohamed Atta. That type of fanatical bullshit without evidence is the problem with religion.

You're making a big mistake. God is not a man. He knows what is right and what is wrong, which is what I've been saying all along. You're assuming the Amalekites, et al are just "Good ol' boys, never meaning no harm." You don't know. I don't know. God knows.

It's pretty simple. Either you believe in God and all the trappings or you don't. You can't have a mini-me version.

As Christians, a few beliefs apply:

1. God is infallible.
2. God is just.
3. God created mankind.
4. God commanded us not to murder.
5. God ordered Samuel to kill the Amalekites down to every man, woman, child, and animal.

Christian conclusion: God must have Had his reasons.

Any other rational person's conclusion: This God of justice is OK with ordering genocide of people He had an infallible hand in creating.

I think it's easy to see why some people might have a real issue with passages like this and predictably, Alex's attempt at apology was less than stellar.

That's disingenuous. Either God exists and is what we think or He doesn't. Those "rational" people don't believe in God. If you, or anyone, wants to argue there is no God, that's an entirely different thing and just say so. This isn't a portrait session.

Belief in God isn't inextricably tied with a belief that the Old Testament does not have some ugly stuff going on. Do I believe that there's context to that ugliness? I do, but I do think a lot of it is lost on us looking back today.

Also there are many different schools of though within theology regarding just about every aspect of scripture. I don't think that it's wrong to question things or examine them critically. Perhaps we simply do not understand God the way we think we do or maybe God is not a simplistic as churches so often make Him out to be.

A person who never asks questions will never know answers and when it comes to a matter of your personal faith, asking questions is of the utmost importance because your faith will inform how you shape the rest of your life. I do not subscribe to the belief that scripture is infallible because the written word that we read is the product of man. Some might ask why I could possibly think that God would allow mankind to screw up His word and I used to think the same way until I realized how many different translations there are, how differently they say things, and how many things that are just plain wrong get published everyday without God intervening to make sure that things are communicated and interpreted in the precise manner than they're intended to be. Multiply that by hundreds of thousands of times over the course of thousands of years and it's easy to see how the book in front of us may not be a complete and accurate picture. That's not even taking into account the politics of the great councils that were gathered in the early days of Christianity to unify Christianity under a single formal creed. Mankind has had a very real and undeniable impact both on the message that we read as well as the way we are trained to interpret that message. To ignore this influence would be folly.

Scripture is one of the ways we come to know God, but reading scripture needs to happen with an understanding of the history of scripture. A lot of misguided religious zealotry in this world happens precisely because people devote hours of their lives to pouring over the words of scripture and not once wondering what they might actually mean or why they might actually have been written. Something as simple as, "Is the story of Noah's Ark real, or is it meant to be a parable of sorts?" can have a deep impact on what you take away from it. In Sunday School, we are taught that the Pentateuch, for instance, was written by Moses. It's something I never questioned until I went to a Christian college and took an Old Testament class where we examined the scripture itself and learned about different editors and questions of authorship.

Do these things matter in the grand scheme of my faith? Not in regard to whether I believe in God or Jesus. They do, however, inform my faith—particularly when certain passages start to be called upon to justify actions that I find disagreeable. So disingenuous? Perhaps to the extent that I don't actually have an irreconcilable problem with scripture, but certainly not in the sense that I am trying to highlight the very real challenges that are present for people when they examine Christianity to a naive individual that believes that he has all of the answers because he attends a theology school.

In truth, if he is learning something from this, it's in a manner that is far less harsh than the way I learned it. I do not presume to have answers to any of these questions that would satisfy anyone. In the end, my religion is my own and I'll not convince people about anything regarding God with pretty or thoughtful arguments. While I don't believe that apologetics is a waste of time as a mental exercise, I do believe that we ought to spend far more time living lives that people want to live and acting with compassion for others than trying to shove Christian logic down their throats. If you were someone that others actually wanted to be like, you wouldn't waste your time trying to find clever rebuttals to make them feel stupid for their doubts. Obviously that last sentence isn't directed at you personally, Sam.

I actually agree with most of what you wrote. Not everything but then, that would be boring. ;-)

More comments