San Francisco Photographers Close Their Business Rather Than Serve a Same-Sex Couple November 19, 2014

San Francisco Photographers Close Their Business Rather Than Serve a Same-Sex Couple

Another business has closed up shop rather than serve a gay couple.

When asked to photograph two men for their wedding, Bay Area-based urloved Photography (ironic name, no?) referred the couple to another photographer because of their clashing beliefs. The owners, Nang and Chris Mai, released a statement on their website explaining their version of what happened:

Urloved photography, a San Rafael husband-and-wife team, said it had recently referred a San Francisco gay couple to another photographer for their wedding photos because they “have different personal beliefs that we have difficulty with.”

“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,” a statement on urlovedphotography.com reads.

Similar incidents have popped up all over the country, prompting an onslaught of conversation about religious freedom, free speech, and where private businesses fit in (and legislation to match). Denial of services on the basis of sexual orientation is illegal under California law:

California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which provides protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation, states that “all persons are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments, including both private and public entities.”

As is often the way when businesses pull this kind of stunt, the company’s Facebook and Yelp pages were flooded with negative reviews and hate mail — so much that the couple asked their supporters to leave the business owners alone. The Mais apologized to the men and later announced they were closing their business.

Unfortunately, our artistic passion for excellence and personal beliefs were misinterpreted. That was never our intent. We have been flooded with hate calls, e-mails and accusations that inaccurately depict our business,” the couple wrote. “On top of that we have come to a difficult decision that we will no longer be in the wedding photography business.” …

“(We) consider this issue resolved and would urge you to stop posting on their FB page, Yelp, and any other social media site,” one of the men wrote on Nov. 7 on Facebook. “Our friends, family, and the LGBT community/allies have all been amazingly supportive and active in helping to bring this matter to light. We must respect that Nang and Chris have decide to shut down their business because of their beliefs. I wish the outcome could have been different but it is what it is.”

Considering they’re a wedding business based in San Francisco, I don’t know how these people could have imagined any outcome besides outrage. Nobody forced them to shut their doors; they brought this on themselves.

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