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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Or since you're a theology student, you can enlighten us with your answer to the Problem of Pain (or the Problem of Evil).

Really, I do have tons of questions.

the answer is very simply.....God doesn't owe us anything and He doesn't have to explain anything to you or me. The fact that you do not agree with Him changes nothing, because he has the ultimate power over everything.

I can't tell if you're being disingenuous or not.

At this point, I'm admittedly being an asshole.

As I was thinking about this, I feared that my subtext might get lost so I'll just put it out there plainly:

Your arrogance as a student of theology (if you are that) is actually quite astounding. What will likely occur should this thread continue is people will bring up very common objectionable passages that have existed throughout scripture and which have been debated for decades. You will undoubtedly refer to the work of some apologist who has addressed the issue years if not decades prior and present it as your explanation to the dissatisfaction of those who still have their objections despite having read the viewpoints of those earlier apologists.

To presume that you, as a student, know enough not only to address issues of concern, but to serve as an arbiter for the true intent and message of any piece of biblical scripture is, frankly, absurd. Many who are smarter, better educated, and more well spoken than you have tread down this same road and yet we are still unable to satisfy those with rational doubts.

If there was an acceptable and rational explanation to every objectionable passage that was consistent with the nature of God as He is so often described, none of these would be an issue today as the same arguments have been had for the better part of two millennia now and there is still no consensus.

As a student of theology, you ought to know better than most that the bible as we know it today was put together by the hands of men—fallible men—via committee with tons of argument and no actual consensus. You ought to know that there have been numerous edits throughout the years to the Pentateuch with confusion as to the nature and purpose of the edits. You ought to know about all of the plain contradictions and anachronisms that litter the Old Testament. You ought to know that tons of references to materials that may have otherwise aided in setting the words of scripture into context, but which are referred to within biblical passages, have been lost throughout the millennia and that we have a very incomplete picture of scripture as it existed within its historical and cultural context.

Yet here you are, presuming to have answers for us. Please do us all a favor and go back to your studies.

Because marriage in this context is a secular institution, not a religious one. Last time I checked, we don't live in a Christian theocracy.

I understand your opinion. Marriage existed long before any government or secular institution. Not agreeing with God's version of what marriage is will not make Him sad, but will and is bringing consequences on society. He will not suffer, we will.

"Marriage existed long before any government or secular institution."

Cite your source.

"Alex is right. Michael is wrong."
- God

That's about as good as a source as you are going to get here

Their choices in life would not have been an issue with me, since I am not pompous enough to believe the what and how of my belief choices are somehow more true, special, sensible than the belief of others.

But the one thing that always seems psychotic to me, is for one group to demand they get to believe however they choose to believe, while at the same time denying another group the right to believe what they have chosen to believe.

The gay couple demands their belief system be accepted and respected, but they demand that the photographer disregard his or her belief system as though they have no right to their own beliefs?

The Christian group demands that their belief system be recognized, respected and free of discrimination, while spitting and spewing on the suggestion that Atheists refuse to believe in God.

The Atheists in turn, demand to be respected for having their own views and belief or disbelief system, while demanding Christmas trees be taken down from public properties, because in some psychological malfunction of humanity demands that it is "My way or the highway!"

Something is wrong with us as a species. We are psychologically bent, warped. There has not been a single day in the history of human beings where we have not been killing each other for the stupidest, myopic, self-serving reasons or at the very least... plotting to do so.

First four humans on the planet according to several religions... One of them kills another with the jawbone of an Ass. Of the first FOUR PEOPLE, ONE OF THEM IS A HOMICIDAL MANIAC! What are the odds?

We are not the humans we pretend to be. When there is no authority around to assign punishment to our bad behavior, what happens? Keyword: SOCCER GAMES We go nuts!

So, for us to pretend, fantasize that we are somehow civilized and tolerant is just that, a facade. To write laws demanding we act as though we have no prejudice, no bias is make believe and futile at best.

But if we are going to make such DEMANDS, those demands and expectations should be FAIR.

I call it and have done so for decades... "THE GOOSE/GANDER PRINCIPLE" aka, what is good for the Goose, should also be good for the Gander.

If you are going to respect the RIGHT of the couple to be respected for their beliefs... then it is only fair that the photographer have the same RIGHT to be respected for his or her belief. Otherwise... THIS IS ALL A LIE! A FANTASY! A ONE WAY CONTRACT OF FREEDOM that does not apply to all.

In other words... UNAMERICAN!

We should have sense enough to say, "The gay couple wants to be respected regarding their beliefs. The photographer should be allowed the same respect for his or her beliefs. The answer is not to demand one give up their belief system, but instead... the couple should find a photographer who shares their same beliefs."

But that just makes too much sense in 2018, when insanity is becoming norm and sensibility is being replaced by nonsense.

Why on earth would a gay couple not want to hire a gay photographer or at least a photographer who happily encourages gay weddings? That is the SENSIBLE solution, but again... this is 2018, when Truth is not the virtue it once was. Sensible is not the goal. Reason has no place in society any longer.

Lets just DEMAND the cake maker go against his belief system.

Lets just DEMAND the photographer go against his belief system.

But dare you not even think about DEMANDING the gay couple, for one second give up their belief system.

It's like a Jewish couple DEMANDING that a Catholic Priest marry them and do so performing a full Jewish Traditional Ceremony. WHY? It is forcing the right of belief of one group to kneel down to the right of belief of another group.


You come to me demanding that I photograph a gay wedding and I am going to fight you as best I can.

You come to me demanding that I cannot photograph a gay wedding and I am going to fight you as best I can.

It implies that your right to your belief is greater than, has more value than, is more legitimate than... my belief.

That is what we left our mother countries to get away from folks. Avoiding this kind of oppression of belief, by demanding one belief is greater than the other is why we built AMERICA in the first place.

This is the process all empires go through... just before their collapse.


PS, and to respond to the SOME ARE BORN WITH IT, OTHERS ARE MAYBELLINE, I mean... I mean. The photographer a choice in his belief, the gay couple had no choice.

Pretty much every study I have read since I saw Caroline "Tula" Cossey dancing in the 1985 release of Powerstation's "Some Like It Hot!"

I thought, he is too well suited to be playing gay, I believed then, there must be something to this BIOLOGICALLY FEMALE/MALE thing, so I began studying all I could find on this subject, I found interesting.

I also find the fact there are snakes that will incubate, cultivate bird eggs when the hen is away so they will have food in the future interested.

What I found was and there was no political correct dialog at the time... There really are those who are pre-disposed to be biologically homosexual.

But, this is not the case with ALL GAYS.

For some and studies have found the same thing, not my opinion, but some gays are gay, because of emotional conditions. As some have shown, their gay actions, choice is more the cause of nurture than nature.

A teen in school who gets no attention at all. Has no special skills, no known talents, who may be shunned and not popular. May and HAVE CHOSEN to present themselves as gay and are often to be the most flamboyant in their characterization of their homosexuality to get attention.

Psychologists have shown over and over again, the one thing worse than BAD attention or NEGATIVE attention to a developing mind is NO ATTENTION AT ALL.

No attention at all has been the root cause of many emotional and psychological dysfunctions throughout history.

That is right for some homosexuals, the case studies have shown that there is a biological cause and for those few, there really is very little choice in their sexuality on a core level.

But for the much larger group, often the more visible and more public gay population, very often, it is an emotional choice, for some an escape, the filling of a void, the defense mechanism of otherwise being invisible.

So for many there IS A CHOICE. For the smaller population of gays, there is indeed a biological core influence.

Those are facts based on years of published research I have seen.

My opinion is... life is short. Do whatever makes you happy as long as you do not hurt innocents in doing so. If what you do causes no harm to others... GO FRIGGIN NUTS!

Demz Da Fax Jaz!

Would you really one someone videoing your wedding if they were forced to by law to not discriminate? I doubt anyone that had an issue with filming a same sex wedding would be doing their best work if forced to do so.

Would you seriously want a restaurant to serve you if they did it because they were forced by law to not discriminate? Would you seriously want a taxi driver to drive you if they did it because they were forced by law to not discriminate? Would you seriously want a police officer to help you if they did it because they were forced by law not to discriminate?

In short: Yes.

Hey Mike , isnt that what you straight guys are always getting so hot for ? *cunt. . Look i dont dig some of those ladies as well , but always helps to know one as they know how to fix car engines , and are awesome bodygaurds / bouncers. ( I am gay , so i can make fun of my fellow misfits ) One thing you might need to understand , Us LGBT folk are masters at playing the victim when it suits us. We have had to learn a game of subterfuge and lies since we were very young. We have had to hide our sexuality , and constantly believe that something was wrong with us. God dosnt make mistakes , He likes to play a very humorous and confusing game , but not only did he put us wonderful LGBT people on this planet ( so that you straights would have someone to dress you and decorate your houses ) but just like variety and never dull make for an interesting planet , He also decided that most of the mammals and some species of Birds and insects all have homosexual partnerships with in their ranks.

I wonder if I post a photo of me in a dress if it will upset the "we are right and every one else is wrong , and we still think we are the centre of the universe" people into running away and joining up with the Westborgh Church ?

Come on Dare me

I don't know. They were hurt and humiliated. They get looks and comments, some to their back and others to their face, all the time. Sometimes, you just can't take it anymore. Imagine whirled peas. :-)

Dose this mean i get to post a pic of me in a dress ? LOL

Sure. I was in San Francisco doing headshots, last week, so I'm prepared! :-)

I am comfortable enough and secure enough in my sexuality and masculinity to wear a dress and still be me . Its just a dress , it dosnt define me ,, Its a thing of beauty , and that i respect and cherish.
This wedding dress was donated to me by a person who has been following me for a number of years on facebook. She said the dress held to many bad memories and she felt i could do something creative and interesting with it.
So I started a Project called " The wedding Dress project "
I would ask men to wear the dress in public and allow me to take photos of them doing everyday normal things. Like walking the dog , waiting for the bus. Its an exercise for me to be creative and pretty much out there , It also allows the men that wear the dress to understand what woman have to go through everyday , been stared at , been judged , been ridiculed , and feeling unsafe and vulnerable. Because believe me , if you are wearing this pretty white dress , you are going to get harassed. I allow the photos to evolve and grow how they want to , ,Led lights were added to the dress and it looked like some beautiful nature goddess had appeared , I have a guy walking a great dane , another at a bus stop , one smoking a cigarette and I have a number of guys wanting to participate in this project. .

You are welcome to view the holding Gallery until I have enough interesting Photos for a show .

The one guy looks like Matthew McConaughey. Very creative! :-)

thank you for having an open mind and having a look , appreciated , i know that seen a hairy bearded man in lace can be rather ..... lol.. thanks

Thank you for being open minded as well. I like your sense of humor. A good sense of humor covers a multitude of faults! :-)

I just came to see who could moral better.

they have their beliefs, videographers also have their owns. just because it conflicts with yours, doesn't mean you have to throw tantrum at them. They were perfectly honest and respectful about their feelings. But the couple- "oh no! you can not have different beliefs!"
I for one- have no problem with LGBT, but other people, religious ones, might have. Why not respect each others belief? No one is trying to hurt anyone here!

Wondering how long it takes for this comment thread to get locked?

The only issue I see with this scenario is "if", and I stress if, the videographer accepted both contract and payment knowing full well that this was a same sex marriage, then backed out on "beliefs" they in no uncertain terms are wrong and politely need get their head out of their collective backsides.

As for shooting a same sex couple for portraits, weddings, flying trapeze art, I don't care and bring it on! I'm excited for the opportunity to shoot my first gay wedding, hasn't happened yet, but I can't wait.

As for the whole "religion" thing (and I was brought up Baptist so shush on that), I read most of what was said below (there was a LOT and I couldn't bear to read it all it made me to angry). Religion and the forcing of it down peoples throats has been the cause of some of the worst atrocities in human history. Do I say there is no place for religion, no, do I say that religion has to 'evolve', sure do!

I've read the bible, I've read most of the Book of Mormon, I've read parts of the Quran and examined many others.

The bible is a good "story", factual...pffft. About as factual as a Donald Trump tweet.

Do I believe in God...the guy with the long flowing gown and the big beard...please spare me, do I believe there could be something? Sure, why not...but 'prove it'...don't quote the bible, don't say you must have faith.

Do I believe in heaven...that place "up there" above the clouds, with the golden gates and some dude checking to see if my name is on the list when I arrive? Not a chance (if I'm wrong when I get there I'll say so)...what I do believe is that I am not this body, that this is not "it" what comes 'after', its the biggest "wait and see".

To the person that said "God created the family"...dude please. That is the most small minded view of reality I've ever heard. Humans created social interactive units, through common goals, empathy and compassion and the need for human contact.

Oh and yes...Evolution is with it. Go watch "Sense 8" on Netflix, your non-evolutionary, religious, anti-gay mind will have a melt down.

It's so bizarre that we are discussing this on a "photography" website...oh and "slavery" is bad no matter how much you want to spin it.

Cheers! :)

PS> Allen, you rock. :P

PPS> To me, and this is my final words on this...ANY religion that says 'you are wrong and I am right' is inherently wrong itself. Any religion that says, this is what we believe, judge for yourself if you choose also to believe I can tolerate. Any religion that says, you don't believe what I do and that's ok, I can tolerate.

PPPS> I can't wait to shoot my first same sex wedding, it's going to be fabulous!

Thank you, sir! Best of luck on shooting your first gay wedding, you sin enabler! :P

LOL. :)

My first Same Sex wedding shoot , The groom was a man i met when i was 19 years old . He was horribly conflicted and ashamed of who he was and how he felt. I recommended honesty , He informed his 2 daughters and his wife , and 20 odd years later , I am the photographer at his wedding. He obviously told his new partner because i got some really dirty glares when doing the Bride/Groom solo photos. . This wedding was one of the most dignified and absolute stunning and respectful weddings i have ever attended.
I dont believe in Marrage , but to experience and to be a part of this couples Civil Union , were they expressed their devotion and love to each other to a hall of friends and family who were witnesses..
Now no matter your beliefs , and even my lowly outlook at Slavery , I mean marriage I have the respect , the manners and intelligence to not be a total jerk and make my views and opinions an issue.
I have taken photos at a Straight couples wedding , The groom was so drunk , he passed out in the neighbors house and was late getting to the Altar , He had some how managed to get some wounds on his wedding finger and when the ring was placed on his finger , it squirted blood all over the place. A few hours later The groom was so hammered , He was swearing and shout at the guests and chased everyone out the hall with a broken beer bottle.
Now i do not hold this disrespectful and totally insulting wedding as my view on weddings in general.
But it got me thinking , Just because this couple were straight , they could and did get married in a church with a pastor as drunk and disgusting as he was , and no one said a thing ..
But upstanding members of the community ,, humble , helping , polite and very well educated gay men , who truly believe in the sanctity of marriage , who one of them was so honest and could not live a lie , they had to have a Civil union because the local pastor did not agree with Homosexuals.

Now tell me again.. Equality ? Respect ?

I sat at a table with a very old gay couple . They were sobbing and crying with joy , they never thought that they would ever be able to witness and be a part of such a joyful and beautiful ceremony . They had been together for 45 years , And not married , they were two men in love with each other , who supported , quarreled , , hugged , helped , supported , ignored and did all the things that people in love do. But the kicker is , If one of these men fell ill and landed up in hospital , the partner had NO rights to be at his partners bedside , , Because he is not direct family. The cruelty in that

Look believe in what you want , just stop been a dick about it , not everyone can match up to your holy and lofty views. So be nice , if they are arse holes , and believe me there are loads of gay arsewipes , then treat them as ass holes , but do not think that you have the right to dictate who people love.

I dont say a thing about your bearded wife , Hey , you have to sleep with her , that properly your punishment for been a dick.

^^^ this, bravo sir! I have friends, one of them cuts my hair, they've been together 25 years and just got married, fantastic couple...better than most. Cheers!

everybody has the right to do business with who they want. i would never want to work with a leftwingnut or openly anti Trump activist. i would not want to hire a muslim who believes very strong in islam. thats my choice.

Yep. You have the right to be a close minded douche. Allah bless America!

yes lets promote islam and its hate towards gay's, jews, christians and promoting of slavery, genocide, world domination and oppression of woman. hooray for islam. oh and dont dare speak your mind in a islamic country because you might end up in jail, hooray for sharia. maybe you want to read the quran before oping your mouth, oh wait western freedoms give you the right to talk out of your ass.

this type of marriage wouldnt be possible in a country who follows islam, in a islamic country they would be hanged according to the sharia law. check the lgbt map for facts. or quran 7:85

Whoa nelly don’t get your MAGA hat in a twist; I was ribing you. All religion is disengenous discriminatory hookum in my book. But people have the right to be ignorant and superstitious, regardless if they call the made up man in the sky God or Allah.

Yes you have the right to choose who you would like to deal with , BUT with respect , manners and dignity. , and I bet thats what you would also expect from any human that you interact with.

Business isn't free association. It's business; a public accommodation. If you don't want to open to all the public, don't open a business. Start a club. You are free to decide if you want to sell "wedding photography" or not. No government can force you to do or not do that. But once you *decide* to open a public accommodation that sells "wedding photography" you don't get to decide to not sell it to an entire class of people. Let's remember... *You* can practice your faith all you want. Your *business* doesn't have a faith.

It's sad. Just plain olde sad.

And, I find this to be very geographical. I've traveled a lot of this world, and, live in Canada. But it seems to make a lot of headlines out of the US for some reason. Whether I agree with it -- or, I don't. I don't care where people decide to park their junk at night... It's none of my affair.

I am however, in the business of doing business. I think people judging people on grounds of religious thoughts are a form of insanity. So long as that belief doesn't involve suppression of women, kids, and just common sense,

I'm guessing what actually happened is, the photographers weren't booked when the gay marriage gig came along. They were willing to compromise their beliefs for the paycheck. Then a late-breaking straight wedding gig popped up at the last minute.

I was asked by a same-sex couple to photograph their special day in 2008 not because I was "the wedding photographer of the year", but I suspect they knew they would encounter this type of issues.

My advice to any couple, same-sex or not, is this. Always have a backup plan even if a professional photographer has signed a contract. Remember what happened during the recent royal wedding. Father of the bride was absent, and his place was royally taken up by Prince Charles.

Don't let this kind of misfortunes ruin your special day.

I think there wouldn’t even be a discussion if videographers were Muslims. Then no one would be able to say anything against the either party.

well i had a great rant i posted earlier...ipad blinking while editing some poor rant is gone :(

It’s rather sad that this article has garnered almost 300 outraged comments for or against and the article about the starving kids hardly has any comments. Discrimination is wrong, but this couple will find another photographer and if they have money for a photographer, they have money for food. Not getting photographed will not result in death. Those kids and their families can’t afford food and they don’t have an alternative. They will starve to death.

Careful now , although the plight of Starving children needs to be documented , and seen , a photo dosnt Feed starving kids. I think its great that its stimulated some debate , I look forward to the day when an article like this just gets dismissed as well , its nothing to out the ordinary ,
But todays age , we have become immune to the shock tactics of some photographers who want to gain popularity off others misery . So carefull when you start taking photos of Vagrants , think carefully what you are doing , looking to get likes off the down and out or highlighting and pushing the needs for them.

Ah, but if you go to my comment on that article, I did state that he should have fed the kids and not photograph them. I do not believe in photographing for likes or shock value so your assumption about me is wrong.

There's no gay photographers?