By Tony Perkins
Their business is called UrLoved, but owners Nang and Chris Mai sure didn’t feel much love after a brush with same-sex “marriage.” The California photographers, a husband-and-wife team from the Bay area, became a popular pick for local couples who appreciated the Mais’ artistic eye.
Sadly, that talent is off the table for other brides and grooms after a dust-up with two homosexual men. Although Nang and Chris didn’t come right out and cite their religion for turning down the ceremony, they did explain that “Photographing a gay wedding is not the best match for us. However,” they said, “we can refer you to a colleague who would make a great match…” The men were so outraged that they launched a Facebook movement to shame UrLoved into submission.
After the smear campaign had gone on for a few weeks, Nang and Chris were blown away by the ferocity of the opposition. They took to their webpage to make the sad announcement that since their morals wouldn’t give, their business would have to.
“It is not photographing a couple who have different personal beliefs that we have difficulty with,” they wrote. “We genuinely felt referring this couple to a photographer who does share their personal beliefs would provide them with the best service for their special day… Unfortunately, our artistic passion for excellence and personal beliefs were misinterpreted. That was never our intent. We have been flooded with hate calls, emails, and accusations that inaccurately depict our business. On top of that, we have come to a difficult decision that we will no longer be in the wedding photography business. We are grateful for this experience as it has caused us to think about how our personal beliefs intersect with our business practices.” In a community that appreciates art and creativity, the loss was an unnecessary one. And while the men finally asked their supporters to back off on social media, the damage had already been done.
In Phoenix, Al and Susan Latimer have a similar story — but for now, a happier ending. The duo, both ordained ministers, has enjoyed operating a local wedding planning business in the Arizona area.
That all changed this year when the couple drew the wrath of the Left for politely declining to coordinate a lesbian ceremony. In an email to the girls, Susan explained that they were “very uncomfortable with same-sex marriage as it is directly against our beliefs. We would not be a very good fit.” Predictably, the women filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Opportunity office of Phoenix. What they didn’t expect is for the author of the same special rights ordinance they were filing under to take the Latimers’ side. Brendan Mahoney, a member of the city’s Human Relations Commission who actually helped write a measure like Houston’s, defended the Christians.
Under the First Amendment, “if they’re licensed ministers,” he explained, “they get to say who they want to marry and who they don’t.” If that upsets you, Mahoney said, find a business that wants your business. How long that will stop Crystal Allen and Kenyata White no one knows. The women have made it clear that they plan on exhausting their options if the Equal Opportunity department won’t bring the full weight of the city to bring the Latimers into submission.
Until then, Al and Susan aren’t budging. Frustrated by the court activism that brought same-sex “marriage” to Arizona, Susan said, “By the stroke of one federal judge’s pen, we are being dictated what the state says moral law should be. This goes directly against God’s laws and the majority of Arizona voters in 2008.” It also goes against everything Americans were told about same-sex “marriage.” This isn’t just about love — it’s about loss, liberty, and livelihoods too.
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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