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Wedding videographers ‘refuse to film’ lesbian couple’s marriage

Ella Braidwood July 25, 2018

A lesbian couple from Virginia have claimed that a wedding videography company refused to film their wedding day because of their sexuality.

Paula Fries and Katie Brown, from Burke, contacted Charlottesville-based Gardenia Weddings asking if it could cover their marriage ceremony. 

The pair were even sent a contract the company before they were refused service.

Posting on Facebook on Saturday, Paula Fries wrote: “Yesterday after multiple conversations and a contract sent to us, the videographer for our wedding decided they can not work with us because we are a gay couple. If you plan on using Gardenia Weddings, make sure you’re a straight couple.”

She included a screenshot of what appeared to be an email from Brett Sandridge, one of the owners of Gardenia Weddings.

“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,” the email reads. “We are just really wanting to stay true to our beliefs.

“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.”

Speaking to CBS19, the couple, who plan to get married in Orange, also said they were sent an $625 invoice by Gardenia Weddings.

The pair told the news channel that they had clearly stated they are a same-sex couple in an earlier email, which was seen by CBS19, and that there had initially appeared to be no problem.

Fries and Brown said Sandridge’s email refusing them service came just a couple of hours after they were sent the contract, adding that the couple had stopped looking at vendors elsewhere because of this.

A screenshot of the email posted, which Fries posted on Facebook. (Paula Fries/Facebook)

“It felt like the rug was pulled out from under us,” Brown told CBS19. “As soon as they sent the contract and PayPal invoice, we closed out communication channels with everyone else.”

In a later post on Facebook, Fries suggested that the videography company had removed negative reviews left by family and friends in response to the incident.

“Every single review left by our community today and yesterday has been deleted. There is virtually no trace of the discrimination displayed by Gardenia,” she wrote.

Fries also thanked the outpouring of support the couple has received.

She wrote: “There aren’t enough words in the English language to express the gratitude and love we feel for everyone that has supported us in this; our families, friends, vendors, and complete strangers all over the area.”

The couple were left angered by Gardenia Weddings’ refusal to serve them. (Paula Fries)

Gardenia Weddings reportedly de-activated its Facebook page on Saturday after receiving the reviews.

A description for Gardenia Weddings on its website reads: “We are Alex and Brett Sandridge, a husband and wife wedding cinematography team based out of Charlottesville, Virginia. We specialize in creating unique wedding films with a cinematic style that help you relive your big day.

“We love hearing a couple’s story of how they ended up together and being able to capture the love that surrounds that on camera.”

PinkNews has contacted Fries and Brown, and Gardenia Weddings, for comment.

The incident comes just over a month after the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of a Colorado bakery that refused to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding, citing “religious freedom” – a decision that was criticised by LGBT+ activists.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, it was recently reported that a lesbian couple were left“shocked and upset” after a baker refused to make a cake for their wedding. 

More: equal marriage, gay marriage, lesbian, same sex marriage, US, wedding

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