Urloved Photography, based in the Bay Area of Northern California, have announced they will no longer provide wedding photography after refusing service to a same-sex couple.
According to Jezebel’s Mark Shrayber, a gay couple recently sought to hire Urloved owners Nang and Chris Mai, but the Mais responded, “Photographing a gay wedding is not the best match for us.” They offered the couple a referral to another photographer, wishing them “the very best!”
The couple complained about the discrimination they experienced — illegal in California — on Facebook, which drew a lot of negative attention to Urloved. The Mais have now responded with a public apology, claiming that their desire for the couple to receive the “service quality they deserve” from someone who shares their personal beliefs were “misinterpreted.” They claimed that they “have been flooded with hate calls, emails, and accusations that inaccurately depict our business,” and announced that they “have come to a difficult decision that we will no longer be in the wedding photography business.”
The Family Research Council took up the Mais’ cause this week, claiming, “In a community that appreciates art and creativity, the loss was an unnecessary one,” juxtaposing their situation with the wedding planner in Phoenix, Arizona who similarly recently refused a same-sex couple service. Same-sex marriage “isn’t just about love,” the anti-LGBT hate group concluded, “it’s about loss, liberty, and livelihoods too.”
But as Shrayber explained in his original reporting on Urloved’s discrimination, there are many legal reasons why a photographer or other wedding vendor might not take a client. “Large weddings and small weddings? Sure, those can be matches or not,” he wrote. “Dates and times? Okay, sorry you were booked.” But it’s against the law in California to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, which the Mais clearly did by explaining that a “gay wedding is not the best match.”
According to Schrayber, the couple who were refused service by Urloved are not planning to take legal action. But, he concluded, “gay weddings are just weddings and they’re also not going to stop,” and “the more we catch people thinking it’s okay to discriminate and call them out on it, the less likely it will be that it will continue to be acceptable.”