- Black Star Rising - http://rising.blackstar.com -

Will Photographing Same-Sex Ceremonies Hurt or Help Your Wedding Photography Business?

Tweet [1]

For a wedding photographer, the dividing line between what’s right and what’s wrong for your business and your life doesn’t get any trickier than this: same-sex weddings.

On Monday, California became the second state in the nation to allow same-sex marriages; a number of other states allow civil unions for homosexual couples. Same-sex marriages are expected to add $700 million to the wedding business in California and provide a major boost to the economy statewide, according to U.S. News & World Report [2].

On the surface, this sounds like a gold mine for wedding photographers. But it’s actually more like a minefield.

Gold Mine or Minefield?

You see, wedding photographers get most of their business from word-of-mouth and referrals. Many have close relationships with specific churches, which may have very strong beliefs for or against gay marriage.

Put aside for a moment your own values. Would it hurt or help your business to photograph same-sex commitment ceremonies or weddings? The answer probably depends on where you get your referrals, which church you attend, and in what community you live.

I live in a conservative community, and while I consider myself progressive politically, I am apolitical when I meet with potential clients for the first time. We often work for couples who go to very conservative churches that oppose gay marriage. I hesitate to think what would happen to some of my most reliable sources of income if I photographed a same-sex wedding.

It goes without saying that mixing your religious beliefs and your livelihood can be a tricky line to walk. But never has it been a more difficult one for wedding photographers. Whatever side you try to please in this debate, there could be negative consequences.

And if you’re thinking, “I just won’t do same-sex weddings because I don’t need the headache,” it’s not that simple. A report on NPR’s Morning Edition [3] on Monday shows why.

No-Win Situation?

NPR told of the case of Vanessa Willock v. Elane Photography, which went before the New Mexico Human Rights Commission earlier this year. The back story:

Willock, in the midst of planning her wedding to her girlfriend, sent the photography company an e-mail request to shoot the commitment ceremony. Elaine Huguenin, who owns the company with her husband, replied: “We do not photograph same-sex weddings. But thanks for checking out our site! Have a great day!”

Willock filed a complaint, and at the hearing she explained how she felt.

“A variety of emotions,” she said, holding back tears. “There was a shock and anger and fear. … We were planning a very happy day for us, and we’re being met with hatred. That’s how it felt.”

The studio’s owners said that shooting same-sex ceremonies conflicted with their religious beliefs. But the commission found in favor of Willock, ordering the studio to pay the same-sex couple more than $6,600 in attorney’s fees. The studio is appealing the decision.

So, what will happen in California? Personally, I’m keeping an eye on several photographers in Southern California who live in conservative markets like me, to see how they handle it.

What do you think? Have you had experiences good, bad or indifferent with same-sex commitment ceremonies and weddings? Are they a financial windfall for wedding photographers — or a no-win situation?

[tags]wedding photography, same-sex marriage[/tags]

Tweet [1]
66 Comments (Open | Close)

66 Comments To "Will Photographing Same-Sex Ceremonies Hurt or Help Your Wedding Photography Business?"

#1 Comment By mark On June 17, 2008 @ 8:24 pm

I appreciate the honesty of this post. I think ultimately though, you have to do what's right, even if that means losing a customer or two.

#2 Comment By elizabeth On June 17, 2008 @ 8:25 pm

As a gay photographer, I find your post offensive. On some level I could almost understand it if you declined to shoot same sex ceremonies because YOU were religiously opposed to such unions. But to decline out of fear that someone ELSE wouldn't like it...I can't respect that. It's ok to let your clients dictate your morals and ethics? Would it be ok to decline to shoot a mixed marriage because the church you get many referrals from frowned on that? What if they thought blind people shouldn't marry? Where do you draw the line? Discrimination is discrimination. And as views on such things change...as they clearly have been and will continue to do so...will you simply follow the money if your conservative church sees the light? If so, I hope your reputation for discrimination precedes you and you find the same-sex wedding market closed to you. It's unethical and it's bad business no matter how you rationalize it Sean. Maybe you could try leading instead of following the crowd here. Being so wishy-washing is just...icky.

#3 Comment By Nicole On June 17, 2008 @ 11:32 pm

Not sure how your other clients would even know which weddings you'd photographed unless you advertised it to them. Seems like a lame excuse for spreading your own bias. Nice.

#4 Comment By Sean Cayton On June 18, 2008 @ 12:55 am

Mark: Thanks for your comment. I can appreciate where you're coming from and I agree with you!

Elizabeth: You're overreaching. Fear was not involved in my writing this piece or thinking these thoughts. In fact, it started as a discussion in our office. And no one is dictating anything to me or anyone else. I'm working in the bread basket of America. Home of the infamous Amendment 2 and while I love living here I'm not about ignore my own communities' sensitivities; right or wrong.

Nicole: We advertise all of our weddings! It's part of what we do and to not advertise a same-sex wedding? Well, that would be discriminatory.

#5 Comment By Mike On June 18, 2008 @ 2:43 am

Why didn't Elane photography just say "We cannot do you wedding as we are not available"? Explicitly telling that couple that they discriminate and thereby hurting that couple's feelings is just stupid and unthoughtful.
So if you have issues with same-sex marriages, there are ways out without hurting someone's feelings. After a while, you will have a reputation of someone who only does "traditional" weddings, and you probably don't have to worry anymore.
But please don't blame it on potential business loss, that's lame (besides discriminatory).

#6 Comment By jasonb On June 18, 2008 @ 6:50 am

Do you have problems photographing Jewish or African American weddings too? You should sit with yourself in a quiet room for a while and think about what you just wrote. And do not worry, Gays will probably avoid you and your community if they are not welcomed, so you might never have to deal with this issue.

For a company like Black Star who championed the civil rights movement with some of the greatest images available, this post is unacceptable. It should have been on FoxNews.

#7 Comment By scottd On June 18, 2008 @ 8:16 am

So basically it sounds like you are happy to photograph a same-sex ceremony but you have no conviction of your principals when it comes to how you run your business. You'll let others take the risks in California before you act on your principals. You're happy to take business from Conservative Christians, people whose views you may not agree with, but you can't stand up for your own beliefs or principals? Nice. You're a noble fellow.

All choices of ethics and morality have consequences, it just sounds like you don't have any conviction except that of the dollar. And in reference to jasonb's comments, where would you have fallen as a business owner in the Civil Rights era?

#8 Comment By scottb On June 18, 2008 @ 8:37 am

To Jason: What's most valuable about Sean's post is that it has the power to inspire discussion and debate. If you would like to write a post offering an opposing viewpoint, we would love to publish it.

#9 Comment By ian campbell On June 18, 2008 @ 2:34 pm

On a ten hour wedding, all I really care about is whether or not I'm getting a lunchbreak, and if the bride and groom are willing to have some food set aside for me, or will give me the time to go off and get something somewhere else.
I'm recording the event: no different from any other event, in the sense of who's in it.
But I'll be "doing another job I'm afraid, that day," if I get the sense they want to buy champagne on a beer budget.

#10 Comment By ian campbell On June 18, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

By the way, I speak from 25 years, off and on, of wedding photography, and 300 or so weddings in Britain, America, New Zealand and France.

#11 Comment By jasonb On June 19, 2008 @ 8:12 am

to ScottB : To have posting that reflects potential bigotry is an insult to those who have dedicated their lives to defeat same. It is an insult to photographers that have risk their lives to denounce this type of thinking.
I understand the first amendment but it should not be used to promote social cowardism. Howard Chapnick would have NEVER allowed this.

#12 Comment By steph On June 19, 2008 @ 3:07 pm

"I am apolitical when I meet with potential clients for the first time. We often work for couples who go to very conservative churches that oppose gay marriage. I hesitate to think what would happen to some of my most reliable sources of income if I photographed a same-sex wedding."

That's NOT being apolitical. You have clearly chosen sides here, meaning you are willing to do business with anti-gay conservatives rather than photograph gay weddings or even be seen at one. What makes a same-sex wedding more political than a conservative one? Nothing.

From one photographer to another, I have to say you just hurt our industry with this article. Also as a member of the LGBT community, I want to also remind you that a) we don't need you anyway, because there are plenty of great gay-friendly and gay photographers out there who will put their principles above money (or find a way to not have to prioritize one), and b) we are not financial windfalls or pitfalls. We are PEOPLE.

I do hope you realize eventually that your decision will hurt you more as a person than you think a different decision will hurt you as a business owner.

As for making this decision - you don't have to worry about it anymore. Our community doesn't hire folks who won't stand up for us, so no worries for you - you aren't going to be offered any same-sex weddings.

#13 Comment By jasonb On June 19, 2008 @ 11:46 pm

do you even read your own blog ?

#14 Comment By kristian On June 20, 2008 @ 5:04 am

this seems like an odd article to me. i've photographed several same-sex weddings. i'm only happy to do it. not because i'm gay, but because i run a business and i do it to make money. i don't care if you're gay, straight, purple or orange... as long as your money is green and we're not doing anything illegal, its all good by me. :)

so i guess my point is this... why are the only options A: Goldmine or B: Minefield? why does it have to be one or the other? i photograph same-sex weddings but i don't advertise that i do. so people wouldn't know either way if they looked at my website or called me on the phone. they wouldn't know until they asked me. and regardless of whether i do them or not, they also would not know my political and religious views. i'm a business, and that means that my business (even though its run by only me), does not have the same rights as an individual. it is illegal in my state for me as a business to discriminate based on sexual orientation, so i will always strive to be fair to all people.

personally, i don't see what the big deal is to photographers just because california has legal same-sex weddings. i mean come on sean, you need to wake up and see whats going on. same-sex weddings have been occurring for years and years and they've been hiring photographers to photograph them for just as long. the fact they're not officially recognized by the state (when i photograph them) is beside the point as far as we, as photographers, are concerned. thats the real fact of the matter.

#15 Comment By hmm On June 20, 2008 @ 5:39 am

"we only serve straight people here! (hope you understand, some of our regulars might be offended if we let you in...you know how it is)"

#16 Comment By jpd On June 20, 2008 @ 7:10 am

Elizabeth isn't really overreaching. "I'm not about ignore my own communities' sensitivities; right or wrong." is a gutless cop-out, a decidedly un-christian moral failing. If you act as a proxy for those "community sensitivities" - a nice way of dressing up ignorance, intolerance, and hatred - then you *are* endorsing them, and you are discriminating yourself. Progressive? Really?

No matter how you try to evade it, Sean, in 1935 your position would have amounted to turning away [black, jewish, gypsy, etc] people on precisely the same basis - appeasing "community sensitivities".

How many blowhards do you really think will boycott you if you happen to do some gay wedding shoots? If your area is really so backwoods that they're going to go up in arms and organize an economic lynching on account of you doing some gay weddings, what's to love about living there exactly? Your work for other clients is none of their business. Nothing is worth living in the kind of environment where you can even be forced to ask the questions you are asking here.

#17 Comment By Paul Bryson On June 20, 2008 @ 7:14 am

First off, I'm a gay, and I'm a photographer. I don't shoot weddings. If I did, I would follow the money, even if it meant turning down certain groups of people...even my own! The reason is this: landlords & other bill collectors won't take "ethics" for payment. In this economy, you have to do whatever is needed to stay afloat.

#18 Comment By Jeremy On June 20, 2008 @ 7:15 am

Those friends who aren't willing to walk along the road with you usually aren't your friend at all. Choosing to only photograph traditional weddings is your choice, but don't expect the GLBT community to be understanding and accept your choice not to negotiate that 'minefield.' No matter how you phrase it, you said no to them simply because they are gay. Even worse, you didn't say no out of your own principles, but because of some weak business excuse. Good luck straddling the fence, but in my view, you've already planted yourself firmly on the other side.

#19 Comment By Bubba On June 20, 2008 @ 8:46 am

I completely agree.

My grandpa had to start serving women.
My daddy had to start serving the niggers.
And me, they're telling me I can't turn away the fags and the spics.

What's this world coming to, when you can't run a nice, traditional, white-only, Christian-only, male-only business without raising all sorts of hackles?

Fucking niggers and faggots are ruining everything, AM I RITE?

#20 Comment By Jake On June 20, 2008 @ 10:16 am

My first allegiance is to my family.

I need to support them and I'll do whatever it takes.

If that means being bullied and not working with certain groups, then so be it.

If those groups are eventually able to provide most of my income then I'll change sides.

#21 Comment By Matt Malinger On June 20, 2008 @ 10:39 am

> If those groups are eventually able to provide most of my income then I'll change sides.

With any luck, the law will eventually force you to "change sides", since you apparently don't have the intestinal fortitude to do it otherwise.

#22 Comment By Jake On June 20, 2008 @ 11:49 am

@ Matt Malinger

Like I said. My first allegiance is to supporting my family.

I don't care if people call me names, as long as I can provide for my family then I can take any sort of abuse or bullying.

#23 Comment By Matt Malinger On June 20, 2008 @ 11:54 am

> I don't care if people call me names, as long as I can provide for my family then I can take any sort of abuse or bullying.

You're not taking it, you're contributing to it. Don't give yourself so much credit.

#24 Comment By Jake On June 20, 2008 @ 12:40 pm

> You're not taking it, you're contributing to it. Don't give yourself so much credit.

As long as I can provide for my family I'll sleep well at night. But thanks for your concern!

#25 Comment By Matt Malinger On June 20, 2008 @ 1:06 pm

I don't particularly care about you, as much as I do about the people you're helping to abuse and bully by being such a doormat. But sleep well anyway,

#26 Comment By Amy Alkon On June 20, 2008 @ 1:47 pm

I'm a huge supporter of gay rights, and disgusted by those who believe, without evidence, in god, and use that to justify their fear and hatred of gays. That said, I think businesses should be able to choose who they serve, no matter how bigoted their choices may be, and should be able to choose not to shoot gay weddings, white people's weddings or weddings of any other ilk. Just as I am free to not patronize businesses that discriminate against groups I support.

#27 Comment By kristian On June 20, 2008 @ 1:58 pm

so amy, what you're saying is a business is free to turn down service to anyone for any reason? so what you're basically saying is that if i ran a McDonalds, i should be able to refuse service to black people, simply because they're black. or i should be free to tell gays to get their quarter pounder with cheese somewhere else. is that about right? if thats what you're saying, then you're saying that businesses should be able to choose to whom they serve.

thats a fine opinion, but i have a feeling the supreme court isn't going to side with you on that one.

#28 Comment By Tom On June 20, 2008 @ 2:05 pm

I think this page is a disservice to photographers: if you're a professional wedding photographer in california and you refuse customers who want their wedding photographed because they're gay, you're violating the law and will likely be fined. End of discussion.

If you want to give some good advice to them, try this: if you feel it will offend your conservative customers that you have photographed a gay couple's wedding, DON'T TELL THEM ABOUT IT.

Personally, I'm an amateur, but after I photographed my gay best friends' wedding, my straight friends were so pleased with the pictures that several asked me to play wedding photographer for them. Maybe it would be a professionally good idea for photographers in california to associate themselves professionally with cool people instead of bigots.

#29 Comment By Jake On June 20, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

@ Matt Malinger

> I don't particularly care about you, as much as I do about the people you're helping to abuse and bully by being such a doormat. But sleep well anyway.

So if I do stand up and then lose a large chunk my business will you step in and give me the money to support my family?

#30 Comment By Matt Malinger On June 20, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

Sure, you big welfare queen.

#31 Comment By ScreamingJ On June 21, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

Umm...deny civil rights all you like in the name of your faith, that's a given and not surprising, but... how is shooting a same sex wedding going to hurt your business? You don't have to post or advertise that you do so; you can keep it in the closet, as your clients most likely have for so long.

Having said that, I'll make another observation: while having lots of disposable income, gays are not known to be large consumers of photography. I won't speculate on the reasons for this, but it has been my experience.

#32 Comment By radmila On June 21, 2008 @ 4:42 pm

Surely there are plenty of photographers willing to do the shoot even if this studio didn't want to.
While I don't agree with the studio, you can't force people to agree with you.
Why would you want someone who doesn't like your lifestyle photographing your wedding anyway?
I wouldn't want that vibe at my wedding anyway. Taking it to human rights is kind of interesting since the rights of the owners of the studio (their religious belief) were not respected.
It's going to be a while before everyone gets on board with same sex weddings, and I don't believe that forcing people to agree is going to change anyone's attitude.

Although, I do believe that had they actually taken the job, they may have learned something about themselves.

#33 Comment By kristian On June 22, 2008 @ 12:41 am

@ radmila

radmila said "...the rights of the owners of the studio (their religious belief) were not respected. "

the studio is a business. unless that business is a church, they have no religious beliefs as a business. you need to understand the difference between personal rights and business rights. its a BIG difference. unless a business is a church, they don't have religious beliefs in the eyes of the law, therefore there are no religious beliefs to be respected in this case. this is a very important thing that needs to be understood. as a person they may not agree based on their own personal religious beliefs, but WHEN YOU ARE RUNNING A BUSINESS, you do not have this right AS A BUSINESS. this particular business owner was unaware of the difference and that is their own fault. not all business owners are smart business owners. it is what it is.

#34 Comment By Thom On June 22, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

Kristian said: "as a person they may not agree based on their own personal religious beliefs, but WHEN YOU ARE RUNNING A BUSINESS, you do not have this right AS A BUSINESS."

I'm not a photographer, but we have clients where I work where some people opt out of working on the client because they are morally or religiously opposed. I, for example, refuse to work on our lottery account. A designer we had didn't feel comfortable working for a business that catered to very progressive causes. If we didn't have such a diverse staff, we might've had to turn down those clients simply due to a lack of employees who would work on them.

So... if I'm a studio owner, and someone comes to me to shoot a same-sex wedding, but none of my photographers are willing to do it, what would be my business' obligation under the law to serve them?

#35 Comment By kristian On June 22, 2008 @ 3:22 pm

thom, the answer to that is quite simple. you contract another photographer to photograph the wedding for you. the wedding couple is still hiring your business (which doesn't guarantee them a particular photographer, but it usually guarantees a certain level of quality and similar style). you hire another photographer to photograph the event. you can even contract other companies to do the editing and all other post-production. its actually much easier than you think.

#36 Comment By Scott Aitken On June 22, 2008 @ 3:22 pm

Would you refuse to shoot an interracial wedding? If you did shoot an interracial wedding, would you be afraid to put the photos in your portfolio? Or would you put them in a separate portfolio?

#37 Comment By kristian On June 22, 2008 @ 5:59 pm

no, i would never refuse to shoot an interracial wedding. i have shot many. and no, i would never be afraid to put them in my portfolio. and if people were offended because of seeing them in my portfolio, then i would be just fine with that. i know it won't hurt my business or profit one bit.

#38 Pingback By Pick of the Thicket 6.17.08 « Media Orchard On March 24, 2009 @ 11:03 pm

[...] Same-sex weddings: Good for the wedding photography business? (Black Star Rising) [...]

#39 Comment By jackie On June 2, 2009 @ 9:24 pm

this is lame. no one should tell anyone else who to photograph or not. i don't make you drink, i don't make you dance, hey, i don't make you take drugs, you do that on your own. i don't tell you to go to seller's bro's when walmart is cheaper. i don't tell you to buy gas at valero when shell is more better. so, in that same way, you don't tell me who to take pictures of. those gays are just so vain and didn't know what to do, they are so bored that they decided to just persecute this lady for what she believes. read the bible people, gays are so wrong, their reward is imminent

#40 Comment By Delainy Mackie Photographer On August 14, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

Unfortunately you are supporting a community of discrimination/hate. Something, we as a world have been trying to conquer for decades. The more you support it the longer it goes on.

#41 Comment By Frank On October 11, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

If I am a hindu who owns a restaurant, should I be forced to serve beef? Why should christians be forced to be a part of something they don't approve of? I can understand issues of discrimination if the services being rendered aren't directly related to the wedding. But for services like musicians who would be a part of the ceremony, they should be allowed protections to decline on religious grounds. For me to be a part of a marriage ceremony that I personally do not approve of is called hypocrisy, just like a hindu who serves beef.

#42 Comment By EdFromOhio On October 12, 2009 @ 11:59 am

Like it or not, I will not shoot a homosexual wedding based on my personal convictions. I don't see how that's any different than a mechanic saying they don't work on your particular brand of car. If the State of Ohio mandates it, I will close up shop.

Be glad that the photographer is expressing reservations. The disconnect would very likely show up in the pictures. This would give the prospective couple plenty of time to find an amicable photographer.

Unless there was some signed contract and the photographer had a change of heart or just didn't show up, I don't see why this whole suit wasn't thrown out of court. There was no agreement, so I don't see how the photographer was liable for anything at all.

#43 Comment By EdFromOhio On October 12, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

"Delainy Mackie Photographer" said: "Unfortunately you are supporting a community of discrimination/hate."

That statement is very false in this case. There is no hate being expressed. People are entitled to their convictions on BOTH sides of the table. The photographer was very respectful. The wording of the original e-mail request implied acknowledgement that Ms. Willock expected some photographers to not accept the assignment due to the sexual orientation of the couple. Of course, that didn't stop her from becoming offended.

The fact that they lost on their appeal just leaves me speechless.

#44 Comment By Gardner Hamiilton On February 9, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

As a WEDDING Photographer for over 20 years i think the job is exactly as stated...photographer of weddings....since the event is all about capturing the love and the event it should not matter if it is a chicken marrying monkey...love is love .....no?
I have in the past worked same sex weddings and there some of the most passionate and sincere events I have ever photographed..i am not gay...i am not religious...i am a human living on planet earth with other humans. If a client chooses not to do business with me because I photographes a same sex event 8 years ago then chances are I would not want that person as a client anyways

#45 Comment By Neil On March 10, 2010 @ 10:56 pm

@Gardner Hamilton.
A marriage is a union between a man and a woman, not a man and his pet, a man and his sister or a man and another man or a woman and another woman.
Would you photograph a wedding where a man was marrying his daughter?
If not, why not? Love is love, right?

I also will not ever photograph such 'weddings'. If I'm sued it will bankrupt me. I will shutter my business and tell every couple that loses their deposit where their money went.

They have declared war. Time to get off the fence and be counted.

#46 Comment By EM On July 5, 2010 @ 4:14 pm

Well said, Gardner Hamilton.

#47 Comment By Redheaded Ninja On July 20, 2010 @ 8:37 pm

I appreciate your honesty, but I just don't get what the hesitation is about. Photographers document. Go to Pulitzer.org and check out the images there. Imagine if the winning photographers worried about upsetting someone by taking those pictures. Remember why you chose this profession, why photographs are important. It's a privilege. Bring on the gays! ;D

#48 Comment By Redheaded Ninja On July 20, 2010 @ 9:05 pm

Forcing a Hindu to serve beef is NOT the same thing as photographing a gay wedding. For one thing, nobody is dying.

I agree that no one should be forced to serve a client they don't want to. In my previous life as a Studio Manager, I severed relationships with clients that were abusive, rowdy, stole, etc. I don't believe anyone should be forced to do anything they don't want to do. Likewise, no one should be kept from doing what they want to do if it hurts no one else... especially if it makes them very happy! Marrying your love hurts no one. Being a jerk to a complete stranger hurts them. Who is really in the wrong here?

If you disapprove, definitely do not do it. You aren't doing any service to the couple by taking a gig you have a problem with. Their images are much too precious for you to capture. But please... don't turn away gay weddings because you are scared of what other people will think!

By the way, what do you tell a potential client when it becomes painfully obvious they will be a problem? "Sorry, I do not photograph weddings for people that I know will be a problem?" I think you probably say something else - like maybe you just booked that day. I think that's the way to go in any situation that you feel is a bad fit.

When I was in labor with my third child, I had some complications and my midwife decided that I should be transported to the hospital as a precaution. My 4-year old daughter was present for her sister's home birth a year ago, and was very excited to met her baby brother. The firemen arrived at my home first and I said to my 4 year old daughter, "I'm sorry you won't get to see your baby brother come out." One of the young firemen who obviously disapproved then said, "I'm not." Way to ruin one of the most beautiful moments of my life. I could have punched that guy right in the face. If you have a problem with women in labor, don't be a fireman! The IRS is always hiring...

#49 Comment By Redheaded Ninja On July 20, 2010 @ 9:15 pm

Who's declared war???

#50 Comment By Frank On July 21, 2010 @ 8:37 am

@Redheaded Ninja:
1) Having a religious conviction against something and being required to violate that conviction would be the case in both situations.
2) Having a religious conviction is not the same thing as a "want to do". You are bound by a higher authority in the first one.

I do not live in a state that has gay marriage, so I do not have to personally deal with that situation at this time; I'm sure there will be a time when I will need to, but I haven't figured out everything in life yet.

I know I didn't have anything to do with that fireman, but I feel the need to apologize on his behalf. This world could use a lot more tactful people, regardless of what they believe.

#51 Comment By Robert On May 11, 2011 @ 7:48 am

As long as your business IS NOT publicly traded, you are allowed to choose who your clients are.

Think about it this way:
What if I called a restaurant that only does vegan and asked them to cater an event; Oh, and by the way, we'd like veal. Then sue them when they protested and refused to cater the event?

Or trying to hire a model agency that is in full support of PETA, then telling them that they will be modeling real fur coats?

#52 Comment By Robert On May 11, 2011 @ 7:54 am

And telling a potential client why you will not accept their business shows honesty and backbone.

I have no problem with what you do at home, I have several homosexual friends, I accept them for who they are.

But I do not have to accept that homosexuality is not a sin.

#53 Comment By Jeffrey On July 25, 2011 @ 2:58 am

This post is offensive. Are we in Iran?

#54 Comment By Gardner Hamilton On July 25, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

anyone who lets there clients dictate what the photographer ( the artist and business person ) decides to photograph and publish should find another career path...

#55 Comment By cheryl On August 18, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

Hello... If I was a couple seeking a photographer and their response was what was quoted above, I'd move on and say, next... as there are plenty of photographers who would gladly photography their love... the quote is at least honest... not a hate response, nor a response worth litigation either... just move on.. and don't take it personally.

#56 Comment By Gardner Hamilton On August 19, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

@ Neil, I will gladly buy your equipment at a reduced rate when you shut your so called business.. UNREAL!

#57 Comment By Al On September 3, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

Um, wow. I agree with Jeffery. And most important. Gardener Hamilton, I know your not religious. But do you believe in god? I do. But most importantly you are absolutely correct mr Hamilton. We live in a world with moving molecules doing and making their own moves. Regardless of wether another bumped into them. Some die. It's a part of life. And we are just people amongst people. I don't think anyone should provoke your opinions. If the person that posted this wasn't concerned about it in the first place this would never have been posted here. They would have posted something in their conservative church board or paper saying something on conservative lines. I could be wrong on my assumption. However, neil. There are animals that take on the care of other types of animals. It's been caught on video. Monkeys taking care of children etc. And I think that's something called love. To honor, cherish, perhaps until death? It doesn't have to be called marriage. But it is unity. Mr Hamilton I believe was trying to be nice but mr Neil you like to blow things out of proportion. Just remember, be simple and love those around you. Don't worry about writing small print. Life is wonderful and how amazing is it to record such special moments of peace and love. Thank you all for listening. Mr Hamilton, you are very humble, sincere, and intelligent. You are here for a special purpose. I hope we can inform each other with our emails but I'm afraid of anyone knowing what they are on here. Maybe we can make an artificial email to share info. God bless and allow love please.

#58 Comment By J.Oliviero On October 17, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

I am a musician and I perform at weddings concerts and other events. I received a request to play at a wedding ceremony which I assumed was a man and a woman since the event planner never ever stated otherwise 2 days later I received an email which stated the 2 GROOMS, My group does not perform at same sex weddings when I emailed the event planner stating this she was outraged and basically lied that she told me, she never did. I presented that fact to her whith all the emails. She was abusive and nasty. I was polite and just stated she should have let me know fropm the on set. I have a right to not play at a same sex wedding. I am Catholic and I do not believe that 2 men or 2 woman are a couple I have a right to my belief system. Her behavior was very disgusting and highley un-professional. I must add that my best friend was gay I also cared for his friend who was very ill. I have no hatred towards anyone individually what shocks me is that My friend w respected my beliefs as I respected his. The NAZI STALIN tactics used by these so called progressives is very disturbing.

#59 Comment By Andrew Barre On October 22, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

I have my first same sex wedding to shoot in a few weeks and I never thought anything but "great something different"!
Go for it I say, business is business and It's about time the world grew up!!

#60 Comment By Metronomic On January 2, 2012 @ 2:19 am

If you refuse to shoot a wedding based on a couple's sexual orientation, prepare to get your bigoted *ss sued. And you WILL lose. Homophobia, whether cultural or religious based is unacceptable in our society and indeed the wedding industry as a whole.

#61 Comment By Sandra On January 2, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

I just booked my first same-sex wedding.
I didn't bat an eye.
It's for my friend.
I'm a small town photographer who gets my referrals from friends, and I go to a very conservative church.
I don't let others dictate what I do- perhaps if I did, I might not have my friend at all, and he's been one of the most amazing supportive people in my life. Why WOULDN'T I photograph his wedding... or the friends who may be referred to me as a result.
It's not ever my job to judge- and if other customers don't like it...well then, perhaps they are not the customers I want anyway.

#62 Comment By Gardner Hamilton On January 3, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

if your not willing to shoot Gay Weddings then you should advertise as a Hetrosexual Wedding Photographer, if you only shoot Gay waddings then you should advertise as a Gay Wedding Photographer...personally Im a Wedding Photographer..I photograph WEDDINGS...

#63 Comment By Robert On February 25, 2012 @ 1:12 am

I am not saying that all gay couples do this, but there are a number that will do this looking for a reaction like this so that they can sue and tread on the rights of others religious beliefs.

#64 Comment By David On October 28, 2012 @ 1:59 am

Discrimination is different from participation. If I tell a gay person, no, I will not photograph you because you are gay, well, that is discrimination. If I tell someone no, I will not photograph your same sex wedding because it goes against my religious beliefs and by photographing it I feel I would be endorsing something I disagree with, namely same sex marriage, That is refusing to participate in an activity. For all the talk that religious conservatives are hateful bigots, it seems all the hatred and bile is coming from those attacking anyone who doesn't agree with same sex marriage. Who really are the bigots and who really is hateful? Read the post. And finally, the idea of threats to use the power of government to force thought and belief, which is contrary to an individuals religious beliefs and right to religious freedom reeks of totalitarianism and an oppressive government. It's so 1984, you may control how we act but you can never control what we think.

#65 Comment By David On October 28, 2012 @ 2:07 am

By the way Sean, thanks for having the courage to address this issue head-on. The ad hominem attacks add nothing to free thought or the freedom we should have to think differently. Some will never be happy until we all think exactly as THEY do. What a boring world that will be. Gray, bleak, and dismal.

#66 Comment By Sarah On August 3, 2013 @ 4:22 am

I didn't read all the comments so this may have been said, but on another issue, I know of many photographers who have either said outright to me (I am a photographer) or have made it clear by their blogs that they only serve "pretty" and "skinny" brides/grooms and those that have a pinterest inspired weddings. Can I get another detail series of mason jars, burlap decorations, chalk board sayings, and couples laying on their special quilt, anyone? So while I understand you gotta do what is best for business wedding photographers discriminating based on the physical appearance of the couple has been happening long before gay marriage stated being legalized. Ultimately it comes down to money and the overall portfolio of the photographer.