After finding the perfect wedding videographer, Paula Fries and Katie Brown soon learned that they weren’t the perfect clients – because they are a same-sex couple. The husband and wife team of videographers refused to work with them in order to “stay true to their beliefs.” Fries and Brown spoke about it in the media, and also shared the email they got from the videographers.
Fries told CBS19 that Gardenia from Charlottesville, Virginia at first seemed like the perfect match for their wedding. Brown and Fries say that they informed wedding vendors about their sexual orientation, so they reportedly did the same with Gardenia before booking them. It seemed that everything was fine. CBS19 reports that the ladies soon got an invoice for a down payment of $625 and a contract to sign. However, the contract was never signed because the duo behind Gardenia changed their minds.
Hours after receiving the contract, the Fries and Brown got the following email from the videographers:
After much discussion with my wife and co-owner, this evening 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 and hope that you can respect that. I understand how this is not a great thing to hear after being excited about finding someone to film your wedding. We would be more than happy to pass your wedding date along to other videographers in our area to see if they would be available to film your wedding if you would like us to do that for you.
Alex + Brett Sandridge
Brown told CBS19 that this made them feel “like the rug was pulled out from under them.” What made the frustration even bigger is that they reportedly closed out communication channels with everyone else when Gardenia sent them the contract. They didn’t sign it nor paid anything, but they still felt discriminated. Brown shared a copy of the email on her Facebook page, and it quickly went viral.
As a result, Gardenia’s Facebook page was deactivated after they received too many negative reviews. Fries and Brown say that they have received lots of support and people even offered to film their wedding for free. “For those who say religion is a reason for why they discriminate and oppress a certain subset of people, is that really a good belief system to begin with,” Brown wonders. And I wonder the same thing.
I am not religious myself, but I come from a religious family. And from what I’ve learned from them, the religion should teach us about tolerance, love, and respect. Rejecting to work with a same-sex couple is by all means discrimination. Also, this is not the first time to hear that someone rejects collaboration because of someone’s sexual orientation. To me personally, it seems like a wrong way to practice a religion. But there is another side, too.
One of the comments on Fries’ post sums it up perfectly, saying that accusing the videographers of discrimination is “the pot calling the kettle black.” In other words, if the couple expects someone to understand their choices and beliefs, they should respect theirs, too. Also, it obviously wasn’t easy for the videographers to make the decision. They apologized, they were polite, and they offered to help the couple find another videographer.
It’s difficult for me to take sides here, as I think both of them are right up to one point, but also wrong up to another. What do you think about this case?