Sal Cincotta posted a great article on Christian photographers being sued by a same-sex couple. Thank you for sharing Sal.
Here is my humble option:
I apologize in advance for talking about politics and religion, two things we stay far away from in business, but this is so newsworthy in our industry, I have to share.
In a nutshell: Vanessa Willock asked the Huguenins to photograph her same-sex wedding. They declined due to their Christian beliefs. Willock sued them and won, and now the Huguenins have to pay several thousand dollars in damages.
I find this ridiculous. We live in a country with a constitution that is supposed to protect us ALL, not just a few. I understand the general discrimination laws – no one should be discriminated against due to their race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, whether they have a tail and/or call themselves a unicorn, etc. I get that. However, we have something called freedom of RELIGION in this country. The First Amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion or IMPEDING THE FREE EXERSIZE of religion. Therefore, forcing someone to do something that is against their religion, or suing them for standing up for their religion, is unconstitutional. Should a Jehovah’s Witness be sued for not celebrating Christmas? Should a Catholic be sued for singing Christmas carols outside said Witness’s house? No. It’s ridiculous.
Regarding photographers turning couples away, there have been instances when a couple has come in for a consultation and I feel that we are not the right photographers for them. I thank them very much for their interest, then tell them we are not a good fit and we won’t be photographing their wedding. They don’t sue me. However, they COULD. If they were Muslim (I have nothing against Muslims) and decided they wanted to make some extra cash, they could file a suit against me stating that I turned them away due to their religion. Then I’d have to spend thousands of dollars defending myself against a lie. This is the system we work with in this country.
That having been said, I feel that as business owners, we have lost the right of “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service.” In other words, we should have the right to refuse service to ANYONE. We should not have to have a policy in place to make sure we say the right thing in order to not be sued. “I’m sorry, we’re not the right fit. Your wedding colors are peach and silver and I hate peach.” The one mistake the Huguenins made was admitting they were turning the job away because the couple was same-sex. If they had simply said, “We aren’t available for your event” or “We don’t feel we’re the right fit” they may have saved themselves thousands of dollars. They told the truth and paid the price, which is sad.
Was Vanessa Willock making a very loud statement by filing this suit? Was she waving a banner for all same-sex couples to see? Was she trying to set a precedent or make an example of these photographers? Possibly. I don’t personally feel that is fair.
Tell us what you think. Intelligent discussion only please. Ignorant or hateful comments will be deleted.