An Open Letter to Weddings Unveiled Magazine

Update, 2/17: This morning, as I sat in a meditation on compassion, Weddings Unveiled responded to my letter. Find my letter below, then their response.

[hr/]

Dear Weddings Unveiled,

After 10 years of shooting weddings, this year, 2013, was the year I decided to purchase my first-ever print ad — a half-page in Weddings Unveiled magazine. WU has always been one of my favorite wedding publications. I love the photo-centric spreads and clean design; I love the beautiful, uncluttered covers.

My e-mails and phone calls back and forth with your editors were exciting! I felt like you were really happy to have me join the “team.” I signed my advertising contract and sent my credit card info over. I started putting together the artwork.

I could’ve chosen any number of lovely pictures of a smiling bride with her tuxedoed groom, or a clever detail shot of brooch bouquets and feather boutonnieres, or one of those dancing photos with the lens flare and the motion… but I wanted to publish a photo that says something about me as a photographer; about my philosophy; about my heart for photographing these momentous (and often wonderfully ridiculous) celebrations.

So I selected my image, and I submitted this ad:

I chose this picture because, to me, it says love. It says home. It says joy.

I sent this ad to you on Valentine’s Day. That afternoon, your editor called and said:

Is there possibly another photograph you’d like to use in your ad? We just don’t feel comfortable publishing an ad featuring a same-sex couple. These aren’t our personal beliefs, of course, but, you know…

In the seconds that followed, a little part of my heart broke. And all of me grew, with quick awareness, exponentially wiser and sadder.

“No,” I said. “No, I don’t have another photograph I would like to use.”

We chatted for a few more minutes, your very apologetic editor trying to explain and reason and justify. Me expressing my disappointment, but ultimately also my acceptance that you certainly have the right to choose what Weddings Unveiled does and doesn’t publish. The editor said she would have another conversation with her team and call me back.

The callback was unremarkable. There was no further discussion. “We haven’t even run your credit card yet,” she said, “so we can just move on without your ad. We’d still love to have you in the magazine, though, so let me know if you want to advertise in the future.”

As I write this, I’m shaking.

A friend of mine asked me, “Aren’t there other publications who would be happy to advertise to the gay community?” And, you know, yes, I’m quite sure there are. But I chose Weddings Unveiled because I’m not trying to advertise to “the gay community.” I’m advertising to couples who are getting married. This couple didn’t get “gay married.” They didn’t have a “gay wedding.” They got married. They had a wedding. They share their lives, their joys and sorrows, and all the mundane daily things that we all share with our partners. They are just people. In love. Committed to one another.

I don’t shoot gay weddings or straight weddings, Christian weddings or Jewish weddings, good weddings or bad weddings. I photograph PEOPLE on their wedding day.

I’m shaking because I’m so angry. I’m shaking because I’m so hurt. I’m shaking because I was so, so naive.

Are there people who might have been offended or put off by this ad? I’m sure there are. But this ad wasn’t for them. This ad was for people who love black and white photography; this ad was for people who love a portrait taken in a warehouse stacked with bags of coffee beans; this ad was for people who love big puffy dresses; this ad was for people who love love.

My heart breaks because you could not see that this couple’s wedding portrait is every bit as beautiful and valuable as any other couple’s.
My heart breaks because you could not see beyond your fear, and into the warmer, brighter future that WE are responsible for building.
Someone has to be first.
Someone has to forge ahead.
Someone has to march.
Someone has to refuse to move to the back of the bus.
Someone has to see these two beautiful, brilliant women in love and know that there is nothing more right in the world than this couple.

Dear, dear Weddings Unveiled, my heart breaks because you could not find it within yourself to be that someone.

Before we finished our last phone call, your editor told me, “I’m not saying we won’t ever publish a same-sex wedding. It just isn’t the right time.”

In Dr. King’s words:

The time is always right to do what’s right.

I hope you will read this and really take it to heart. I hope you will see your decision through the eyes of someone who is gay. I hope you will see it through the eyes of someone who has dear friends and family members who are gay. I hope you will see it through the eyes of history, for surely someday very soon your decision will seem archaic and absurd.

And if, as you said, your decision was not a reflection of your personal beliefs, then I hope you will examine your personal beliefs and find them worthy of full and honest expression.

-Anne

[hr/]

I’ve copied Weddings Unveiled’s response from their blog, which you can also read in it’s original form HERE.

Our Apology

We are Terri and Brooke, the publishers of Weddings Unveiled Magazine. We hope that you will allow us the opportunity to address an important issue that has angered and disappointed many people. We are incredibly sad that same sex marriage is still an issue in our society. When we were faced with the decision of whether or not to publish Anne Almasy’s advertisement, we acted in a manner that does not reflect our personal beliefs. We truly believe that all love is beautiful and that all people have the right to marry. You might ask that if we feel that way, then why did we make this decision? Honestly, we knew that everyone would not share our belief that all people have the right to marry. The issue is very sensitive and it is also very divided. We knew that it was possible that people would be offended if we published the ad and we knew that it was possible that people would be offended if we did not. We are so sorry that we acted out of fear and uncertainty.

We had never been faced with such a decision and we should have acted with our hearts.

We are two women who operate a small business that we care deeply about. We love all weddings. We love all people and would never want to anger, offend or disappoint anyone. We are deeply moved by the outpouring of love and support for Anne. We are so sorry that we have disappointed you and we ask for your forgiveness. If Anne would still like to run her ad in Weddings Unveiled, then we would be proud to publish it.

Sincerely,
Terri and Brooke

[hr/]

And, finally, my reply:

Dear Terri and Brooke,

This morning I woke up with all of this weighing so heavily on my heart. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I could sit down for a drink with all of you and we would have a marvelous time.

I went to meditation this morning; the first time in a couple of years. The teaching was on compassion, and I found myself crying the whole time.

On my way home, my dad called me. “I’m reading the apology,” he said. I cannot tell you how completely stunned, humbled, and honored I am that you took the time to truly read my letter, and chose to side with your hearts. I couldn’t have imagined a better outcome. I hope you have recognized the vast community of support you will have for championing what is right and true.

I will gladly stand with you in this fight for equality

and would be thrilled to move forward with this ad in Weddings Unveiled.

Thank you again. I look forward to talking with you soon!

-Anne

[hr]

Update, 2/18: I want to thank everyone who has participated in this discussion and shared their stories with me. Even if you disagreed with me, you were part of a very important conversation. At this point, I feel that everything that needs to be said has been said. The issue has been resolved, and I have decided to close comments for this post. Thank you all again!

I would also like to quickly address three points:

1 – This was not a marketing ploy. The women at Weddings Unveiled are wonderful women, and it never occurred to me that they would be uncomfortable publishing this photo. Their uncertainty was understandable on many levels. Their thoughtful reconsideration and change of heart is beyond commendable. I am honored to call them colleagues.

2 – I am not brave. The only bravery here came from the two women in the photograph, who proofread my letter before it was ever published, and encouraged me to share it along with their photograph. As a white, heterosexual woman, I have little to no personal understanding of bigotry and discrimination. These women (and others like them) have experienced it their entire lives. This letter is my very small plea for compassion and understanding in a changing world.

3 – I reject the notion that I overreacted. Activist and writer Elie Wiesel said, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Thank you all again for lending your voices to this discussion. Your participation means more to me than you can ever know.

[hr]

Update, 4/12: See the ad as it appeared in Weddings Unveiled magazine’s spring 2013 issue!

338 Comments

  1. Your response was perfect. I’m proud of you for writing it. You were spot on with all of it. I’m proud to call you my friend.

  2. You are beautiful and talented, Anne. I have always struggled with understanding the adversary you are battling, but you are 100% correct. There is nothing more right in this world than this couple. Your photos captured something a million times deeper and more incredible than any other wedding photography has.

  3. Beautiful words, well spoken. I love WU so it’s very sad and disappointing to see them so willing to cater to the hateful bigots of society. I love the King quote you mentioned, and I think this is also appropriate:

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

    Hate and oppression and prejudice continues in our society because good people are too afraid to stand up and say “This is wrong.” Kudos to you for being brave enough to share your story.

  4. What confuses me about their response is a lack of a moral argument either way. If their publication takes a moral position on marriage being defined between one man and one woman, then there is a difference in world-view. It sounds as though they align with your belief of marriage by considering piblishing it, but I’m confused by their reason of ‘timing’ especially for content labeled as advertised.

    • I don’t get the sense they are making a moral judgement either way. Who knows a magazine’s subscribers better — a potential advertiser or the editor of a magazine?

      The editor probably just made a judgement based on (and I assume b/c I don’t read the magazine) that gay and lesbian couples aren’t their target demographic and maybe focus groups have suggested that many of their subscribers might not be amenable to such an ad.

      As someone who has read the angry letters from magazine subscribers about artwork, ads and the like — the editor’s position isn’t unreasonable.

      I get why the author of this post is angry, and that’s perfectly reasonable. I just think it’s reasonable that a magazine might reject such an ad.

      • Bigotry is bigotry – I don’t care what you wrap it in. Would you say the same thing if they had denied putting a black couple in an ad in their magazine?!?!? Its ridiculous to make excuses for crap like this – period. I find it reprehensible and I worked for a magazine doing layout and copyediting for 4 1/2 years, so I find your train of thought fairly ridiculous that is okay because its not a target market. Its not a target market because people are bigoted about it. They get married, and this magazine wasn’t called “straight couples weddings” last I checked

        • Yes, Star…everything is black and white, isn’t it? At the end of the day, the choice isn’t just between “I support gay rights without reservation” or “I don’t support them at all.” People now have to choose to suffer the consequences of their support or lack of it. Running an ad in support of gay marriage certainly runs the risk of backlash, of losing perhaps more customers than one would gain as a result of the support. A businessman or woman would have to take this issue into consideration…it’s called self-preservation. These women weren’t obligated to support gay rights and I’m not so sure that they would have suffered all that much had they not changed their minds and issued an apology.(The Chick-filA day of hate worked out much better than the gay kiss-in.) The fact is that they did apologize. They did explain themselves. And, unlike most people, they did remedy the situation. It takes a big person/people to admit mistakes. Get over yourself and go after the people who deserve it.

          • Michael said: “These women weren’t obligated to support gay rights..”
            —————————————————————
            lol, then who is?
            Of course they are.. it’s called Equal Rights.
            The are selling a product or service, not a personal moral position unless they define that within their business.. such as “hetero” only.. but then surely one must see the discrimination that this would perpetuate?
            They market to people who want to get married, so what difference does it make if the customers are both women or men?

            Also, there is nothing for Star to “get over” with, in fact, it’s the other way around, you should get over yourself. You’ve decided you are right regardless of current laws and rights inherent to human beings, and that Star’s position is wrong and somehow bad.
            I think you confused her comment as being directed at the article instead of a response/reply to Bill.

      • But Bill, this is an ad – not a feature. If an advertiser feels that this is the image she wants to use in her ad, it’s irrelevant whether the editors think it speaks to their target market or not. T

        • I’m not sure I agree with this statement. If you want to run an ad that is offensive (not that this ad is, but if you wanted to publish one), the magazine should have the write to decline the artwork submitted for that ad.

          A more interesting thought that came to my mind is why in the world would Anne want to publish this image if same sex marriage isn’t legal in Georgia which is her main demographic? Georiga (and all of the south) do not honor or legally recognize same sex marriage at all so it would seem that Anne is making a very poor business decision by promoting her business in that way. I’m sure people will take heat for my view on this but Weddings Unveiled is published in the deep south were every neighboring state looks down on same sex marriage.

          It’s one thing to fight for your beliefs and present your business as you want it to be presented but part of me thinks it’s a bit of trolling since this ad would do very little in increased business in her demographic. If she was in Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New York, Vermont, or Washington then I would totally get it, but in Georgia…eh I dunno

          • James,

            I completely see how you could get to that thought, but as someone who lives here in GA I think that there is a misconception about what is actually going on in the state. Sadly alot of that is our own fault. Yes, GA is statistically a conservative Bible Belt state. You are absolutely right on that one. HOWEVER, the biggest bulk of Anne’s client’s come from Atlanta, and in the city we’re kind of a pocket of liberalism in an otherwise deeply red state.

            Atlanta itself is actually one of the top three largest cities for the LGBT community. Our pride festival every year is massive. And same-sex wedding ceremonies are on the rise here in the city. You are correct that the state itself may not legally recognize these ceremonies, but MANY LGBT couples are still having ceremonies here because this is where their friends, families, and loved ones are. Some of them go to other states and also have a small civil ceremony in order to have it legally recognized in at least one state, and others simply have the ceremony here and then go the route of giving their partner Power of Attorney papers (which is what LGBT couples had to do before there were any states that recognized their marriages).

            What Anne is doing is important. Not just by running this ad the way it is, but by letting LGBT couples know that there are people here in GA who do support them and their right to love, and have that love recognized. If all they heard was “Well you should go out of state” then we may never see any real change in GA. As it stands, yes those of who can see beyond hate and fear are in the minority right now, but our numbers are growing, and I do have hope that one day we can move GA out of the dark ages.

          • That makes sense Lena (not sure why I can’t respond under your post). I was talking to a friend of mine about this asking why a photographer would want to do this in GA and he reminded me that this issue has now given Anne a HUGE amount of free publicity that might be worth way more than the cost of the ad in the first place. Perhaps she might even book a couple weddings out of the state simply because of the press this story will get in the next few days. I’m a little embarrassed I failed to recognize the marketing power of this whole situation outside of the state of Georgia.

            On another level, I’m curious if couples in the LGBT community would NOT hire a proficient photographer who marketed their work with normal straight weddings? As a wedding photographer myself, most couples book me because of a combination of marketing, presentation, emotional connection (maybe this works against LGBT in this case), price point, and of course overall photographic quality. Unless a photographer had a moral issue with a gay wedding, almost everyone I know would be happy to book a wedding at full price regardless of the couples sexual orientation (we are a business afterall).

            It just seems to me that if I were getting married, even seeing a LGBT wedding wouldn’t necessarily make me want to hire that photographer if they did not hit me on the other marketing points (say I had a big budget and the LGBT photog was cheaper than my budget, I would go with a “straight” photographer who matched my budget better), or maybe I simply like the images better.

            Basically I’m saying a photographer should always put their best foot forward in presentation at all times….and while this photograph does appeal to a very specific crowd, it still might not be a very good photograph for marketing purposes (it’s kind of just a snap shot).

          • Yeah I don’t have an option to respond directly to your last comment either.

            I think the point you make about the quality of the image is subjective. I happen to be a fan of Anne’s photography. If you search further back in this blog you’ll find the family portraits she’s done for my family the last five years, and I have hired her to photography my own impending nuptials. So on that issue we could debate photographic style for a long while. And there would be value in that conversation to a degree. However, the original idea was that Anne did feel this photograph was indicative of her work. She did not choose it because it featured a same sex wedding.

            As far as whether or not a LGBT couple would choose a vendor whose only advertisements feature same sex couples…well I think that that is a debate that business people have to have with themselves, the community, and their clients now more than ever. Of course in the past LGBT couples had no choice because there was no one advertising “to them”. Recently offbeatbride.com ran an interesting article on the debate of how the legalization of LGBT marriage was changing marketing, and how much marketing should now swing in the opposite direction. The truth is there wasn’t a clear answer, either from the wedding professionals, the editors of offbeatbride, or the commentors of the article (who because of the nature of the site skew incredibly liberal).

            However, there is another side. I don’t know if the comment I’m thinking of was on this page, or on another site that has run this story, but I did read one in particular that struck me. A woman wrote about her experiences recently being a bride in a same sex wedding. She recalled how as she began wedding planning she did what every bride does: she went out and bought a pile of wedding magazines to start getting inspiration. As she flipped through the pages she saw picture after picture featuring couples of every ethnic and racial background. A beautiful kaleidoscope of weddings. Not that long ago you would never have opened a magazine of any kind to see anything more than a string of smiling happy WHITE couples. But missing from the pages of the magazines were any representation whatsoever of couples that were not heterosexual. This women went on to explain how something that could seem so small when it was just one article, one magazine that didn’t feature a couple like hers, but multiply that a few times over and it’s suddenly an insidious comment on her wedding. She said she’d felt like an entire industry was just trying to erase her, her wedding, and her relationship.

            If you haven’t been in a similar situation I can see where it would be hard to understand the feeling. But speaking as a bisexual woman, who is also a non-Christian living in a very conservative bible belt I can tell you that being surrounded only be representations of “mainstream” families, and “traditional” culture….you begin to feel completely isolated and alone. I know that Anne choosing a picture of a same sex couple can look like a marketing ploy, but I can also tell you that because that image has now gotten out there is someone somewhere right now seeing that image. And maybe they can’t afford to hire Anne, or maybe they live too far away, or maybe they’re not even getting married, but somewhere someone is looking at that picture right this second and thinking “That girl in that dress is like me. Look how happy she is, and look at the tenderness and support she got from this photographer who says that this is NORMAL. If that girl can have that moment then maybe I can too. ”

            And THAT is why that image matters. Regardless of what you think of the quality of that image, Anne thought it was a beautiful photo of two people in love, and that is why she chose it for her add, and that is why someone somewhere won’t feel pandered to as some special minority, maybe in fact for the first time in her life she’ll feel normal.

  5. Regardless of a persons beliefs; regardless of what is socially or culturally acceptable, hate- in ANY form whether mildly and politically correct, or outright and in your face is NEVER acceptable. I love you Anne for who you are, for your heart, and for your willingness to be a voice that is speaking with an educated, well thought out, and passionate voice.

  6. Words fail me as I keep trying to express how proud I am of you. Sometimes, all I can do is let tears fall from my eyes. Don’t ever give up.

      • Hear hear! Such moving and thoughtful words and action in this response.

    • This article speaks a lot about the wonderful person Anne is but it speaks VOLUMES about the kind of father who raised her. Thank you for helping to make the world a better place for all of us by raising a strong woman of conscience and conviction. You did your job well.

    • This post is so beautifully written. Anne, you got your point so firmly across without making it a stone-fest against the magazine. Dad, I am so happy you are one of those in your generation who rejects bigotry and hate against those different from us.

  7. Bravo. I am glad you shared this online.

  8. I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, Ms Anne. This is beautiful, like you, and I’m proud to know you. Thank you for speaking out.

  9. A lovely reply to such an ugly situation. While I support the freedom of thought, it just makes me sad those are the thoughts they have.

    • Elizabeth, your post brought tears to my eyes. We are all in this together. Thank you for standing with me! I am proud to stand with you.

  10. Great letter and I’m so sorry they disappointed you. You are absolutely right in quoting Dr. King “The time is always right to do what’s right”

  11. So sad that a magazine can react like that in this day and age. If their “personal beliefs” are in line with yours, as they claim, then what’s the problem?

    And in any case, the content of an advertisement is a matter for the advertiser. I’m sure they would not be happy if you or other advertisers tried to tell them what to print in the editorial part of the magazine; why then is it OK for them to censor your ad?

  12. I am happy you brought this issue to the collective attention of the many photographers around the world who happily document all classes of people, without discrimination. “The time is always right to do what’s right.” Interestingly, Marie Claire India recently ran one of my photos of two gay grooms kissing. How sad that all publications cannot be as open-minded as Marie Claire India.

  13. Your reply is perfect, Anne. I hope the magazine comes to their senses and publishes your beautiful image. As a photographer whose client base is almost 50% from the GLBT community, it breaks my heart, too. Doing the right thing is never wrong.

  14. Beautifully written and expressed. It is sad that this type of type of thinking extends to not only to same-sex couples but to those who don’t fit the “conventional” sense of beauty.

    • At any level will it ever be okay to not be one of the “beautiful” people? -Mom

  15. Wow, thank you for bringing this to the eyes of the public… awareness of these issues is the only way to get them corrected… as progressive as our world is, sometimes it still feels like we are backwards… great post!

    • Between 1850 and 1948, my marriage to a Japanese woman would have been illegal in my home state of California.

      I didn’t have an interracial wedding. I had a wedding.
      I don’t have an interracial marriage. I have a wife, who I love with all my heart.

      There was a time when a photo of my wife and I, on our wedding day, would have been provocative and upsetting to a lot of people. Our love and commitment to one another isn’t a threat to society. Just because some still do see our marriage as being an interracial marriage, it doesn’t make our love and commitment to each other any less beautiful.

      It’s hard to imagine that a marriage like mine was illegal for 100 years. Seems like such backwards thinking now. For a good share of people, it’s still 1850 to 1948.

      I see a lot of my own marriage in Anne’s story. It’s difficult for me not to identify with with how I would feel if the photo selected for the advertisement was of me and my wife. An ad pulled because our marriage didn’t live up to someone else’s expectations or standards. Because someone else felt the need to put a label on our love. As though what we feel for each other was somehow different from other married couples. Somehow, less than.

      When we send the message to couples that their love and commitment to each other is somehow less than, It’s not a gay problem. It’s just a problem.

      Thank you Anne for taking a stand for all of us who married a bit outside of the box. I stand by my wife when she writes, shame on Weddings Unveiled. We were once that couple.

  16. Thank you for posting this. I love your letter. I love your photograph. But I think this situation sums up a lot of what is wrong with the wedding media. There is a horrible reluctance to do or say anything that in any way rocks the boat. Breaking the ‘bridal bubble’ is off-limits to these magazines, but all it does (to my mind) is to fail miserably to acknowledge any sense of intelligence in their readership. I won’t even go into the problems this causes for wedding suppliers who end up dealing with all sorts of unrealistic expectations from their customers (that’s a whole other blog post).

    Why should wedding magazines be filled only with images of weddings of a particular type? Why should they be afraid to allow their readers to think for themselves? And do they really believe that their readership as a whole is so bigoted that they will be offended by an advertiser’s image of a same-sex couple? I wonder if it has occurred to them that a large number of their readers may actually have friends who are gay, and may even have attended their weddings? Or that perhaps they might increase their readership enormously by adopting an approach that made gay couples feel a little more like they might get something useful out of the magazines themselves?

    I thoroughly applaud your letter, Anne. For too long, suppliers have been dictated to by the bridal media. I think it’s time we started calling the shots. I sincerely hope that many many couples planning weddings see this and comment and show their support for you – as the readership of this magazine, I would love to see some support from them.

  17. BRILLIANT!! I agree with all the replies, but the one from “dad” really touched my heart. As a wedding journalist, I applaud you.

  18. Anne,

    Your response to a dark, saddening situation is three things: considerate, classy and courageous. I am grateful that you took the time to articulate this thoughtful response. So many folks need to read/hear it. Fear of “otherness” keeps many from seeing love for exactly what it is – LOVE. Simply.

    I am so glad I was able to read this today.

    I love you!

    R

  19. Great write up on your situation and feelings. Thanks for sharing!

  20. I am absolutely sure, you are not quite honest to us. Hand on you heart, you’ve chosen this picture not only for its emotional charge, but hoping a gay couple would draw more attention (as everything gay does these days). It seems, one has to have the gut to refuse a publication like that. And now you whale how offended you are, hoping to draw more attention to yourself. As for me, the photograph is not artistic and might interest only because of the gay couple. Probably you are proud of yourself to have seen this moment and reacted well (and you truely shoud be, well done), but it betrays your skills are far from masters’. I’m sure you can find the picture which would demonstrate BOTH your artistic skill and you ability to capture the moment and thus position you to a more sophisticated and understanding client.

    • That isn’t the point. The point is she shouldn’t have to. She should be able to represent her work the way she sees fit, not the way you think she should or anyone else for that matter. I wouldn’t want someone coming in and telling me how to represent myself as a concert photographer when I advertise and I would bow to it any more than she did.

      If you don’t want to run my ad the way I choose to do it you don’t get my business. But this entire situation is so so sad to me that its even an issue in today’s soceity

    • The point is that Weddings Unveiled rejected the photo, not because it was poor quality, or not artistic, but because the subject matter was too controversial. Gay “anything” is too controversial to some people/organizations, which is something AnneAlmasy Photography is trying to address and correct. Had the magazine rejected the photo because it was “too dark”, “black & white”, not “artistic enough”, or some other reasonable excuse, the reaction would not have been so severe.

    • What difference does it make? If she DID choose the photograph because she was hoping to attract attention, or market to gay couples, what would be wrong with that? It’s an ADVERTISEMENT – its entire purpose is to attract attention and grow her business.

  21. How heartbreaking. I’m so sorry that this happened to you (and how the brides must feel). Your ad is beautiful.
    If you ever work an LGBT South Asian (Indian) wedding, please submit it to my blog for publication. xox.

  22. Very well written response. I know some will see this as just a ‘pro-gay’ agenda but I understand your stance on this. I also understand theirs. This is a precarious time in the industry to say the list. I wonder what will tip the scales to the other side?

    Beautiful photo as well.

    Best,

    Marni Gold

  23. You go girl! This blogpost will be shared by social media and will be way better marketing than any print ad ever could be. It is 2013, if this isn’t the right time, when will it be?!

  24. What a beautiful photograph, you are a lovely talented inspirational person and I am completley with you, when you say you dont photograph gay or straight weddings, you photograph couples who get married, I feel exactly the same
    .

    Amanda
    Ardley Weddings.

  25. Some will never agree, accept or understand, but the point is to be real and open, and this photo shows both at their finest, as there is no better description of love… I hope one day this conversation about gays and marriage/love can be comical, one we can look back at and say “Really? We argued and debated over LOVE?” People like you, who don’t sell out and who stand up for the RIGHT thing are going to make a difference in this world. No matter how anyone else sees it, we know this article will make a difference, to someone. Thank you, Anne.

  26. Thank you for writing this. Unreal that their stance is so homophobic. Guess I know not to patronize that magazine with my advertising dollars.

  27. Wow. Anne, thank you so much for publishing this.

    I’m so sorry for your anger and disappointment. You’ve handled it with enviable grace.

    Many photographers would have swallowed their disappointment and submitted another more “acceptable” photo. Instead, you took a stand. Thank you for having the courage to live up to your convictions and inspiring me to do the same.

    It’s people like you who change the world.

  28. Good for you for writing this and not pushing it under the rug. I’m glad you are sharing your story with the world because this bigotry has to stop & the more people who know about this publications view’s the better. As a photographer, I wouldn’t have known their views on same-sex marriages and would have been none the wiser giving them my advertising dollars. Now I can safely check them off as never being an advertising option for our company. I hope other vendors see it this way too. I’ve also added a mental note to ask each publication before advertising what their stance is on this issue in the future. It’s a shame it’s even a worry.
    I love your words on it all… very well put. Everyone has the right to marry the one they love. :)

  29. Beautiful image that says so much. It’s demonstrates a beautiful relationship filled with love. Sadly, the loss is for the magazine.

  30. Thank you for being awesome, and for spreading the word about their bigotry. People have a right to know what their dollars are paying for, and nobody I know would support a magazine that had refused a (gorgeous) picture of a same-sex couple in its pages. You’re keeping them honest and maintaining your integrity in a nasty and difficult situation. Rock on, lady, rock on.

  31. I was killing some time in Barnes and Noble and started flipping through wedding magazines. There were no same sex couples anywhere. I saw a photo feature on amazing, personal, personality-filled cake toppers of couples. After about 10 pages, some of the couples started to be people of color, but I flipped page after page after page and never found same sex couples.

    As you say, I’m not getting gay-married. I’m getting MARRIED. To a woman. And I don’t think it’s crazy to want to see people like me represented.

    Less than 1% of the U.S. population is Indian-American. GLBT people are about 2-4% of the population. I see Indian-Americans represented in wedding magazines, and I saw them in that cake topper display. I didn’t see me. I didn’t see two women like the ones above.

    What I saw was not that there didn’t HAPPEN to be gay couples, what I saw was that I had been consciously wiped out. Erased. Made invisible.

    Thank you for being a voice for visibility.

  32. From another wedding photographer, you are spot on and you are not alone. The tide is with us and we are already on the right side of history. Thank you for speaking up about this.

  33. Hi Anne! I just read your post about the Weddings Unveiled issue, thanks so much for being so thoughtful with your words… and thanks Jason Groupp for re-posting. On the flip side of this issue, I’d like to point out the opposite from NJ Bride Magazine. I recently submitted a same-sex wedding that I photographed to several magazines, and I was so thrilled when the editor from NJB wrote back excepting the images!!… and even explaining that it was the first same-sex wedding they’ve published & how excited they were to be running it and that we were all breaking ground here! Here are a few of my shots: http://ronbwilson.blogspot.com/2012/08/new-york-city-and-new-jersey-gay-and.html
    The editor and I both agreed it was even an issue that they were 2 women.. just that they we two people in love!

    • Love the images – what a beautiful, tasteful wedding they had!

  34. I do agree with the way you handled the situation and it’s unfortunate (to say the least) Wedding Unveiled is still not part of the 21st century but I fail to see why were you surprised they did not run with your ad. There is a good dose of mischief in sending that photo to a mag editor who probably never ever run anything like that. Don’t get me wrong, I applaud the mischief and I 100% subscribe to it as well. I’s there though (the mischief) and that makes me wonder why you were surprised.

  35. Well say! This image you choose is beautiful. Plain and simple.

  36. It makes me sad that this publication responded like that. I hope that very soon they will see how small minded they are for rejecting your photo

  37. Thank you for sharing this. I do not believe that something like this can happen today…i have booked 3 gay weddings this year and i’m proud of shooting it. I blog every client, gay straight. It is all celebration of LOVE. Shame on you WU.

  38. Very sad reading this. I shoot a half dozen gay weddings ere in the Canadian Rockies and have a blast doing it. I never hide my work and don’t believe I would put my money down where an advertiser would not allow me to post a pic of a lovely couple as you have shown. I think this magazine does not appreciate it so , move on to one that will. Wishing you continued success in your business.

  39. Beautiful photograph of a beautiful couple. Love knows no boundaries. It’s so amazing when a photographer can capture that special ‘something,’ the raw emotion between a couple. That feeling can’t be contained by gender, ethnicity, orientation, or any other label. Love is the universal language of this one human family we all share. Bravo to you for capturing such a precious moment and attempting to share it with the world!

  40. Such a beautifully worded letter.

    If one is fortunate enough today to find love, why should it make any difference who we choose. Love is magical, love is special, love is non judgemental, love is interdenominaltional, love is everything!!

  41. What a beautiful photo of two people in love, and what a fantastic response and sentiment about your profession and your disappointment. Love is love, it does not see color, gender, race, status. I’m so sorry you were so hurt, but so pleased that you have handled it with such grace. Leave behind the self-righteous knowing you are right.

  42. The world is a better place because of people like you! How wonderful that you get to recognize and capture love in all its forms and share those images with families and friends. It’s a shame this publication is so narrow minded. But it’s a blessing that you had the courage to respond with love and truth.

  43. I love that you took a stance on this. It would have been easy to either provide another image, or to have complained privately in your network. Instead, you composed a well written, thoughtful response, that is going viral. I am hopeful that it will effect change.

  44. Hi Anna – wow! I am so moved by your passion and the way you are able to express yourself so eloquently about this not-so-great situation. My mom and I recently started our own wedding blog, newgenerationbride.com, and we are all about celebrating love! Our primary focus of our blog is multicultural, interracial, and inter-religion weddings and marriages. We are all about providing inspiration for the New Generation couple, and we would never even think about denying a submission based on the sexes of the couple. I am glad to see you standing up for what you believe in, and you have our full support!

  45. Thank you for standing up for your beliefs in such beautiful words. When are people going to accept that love is love and the world can never have enough of it happening in any way ,shape or form.

  46. I do more photography for newspapers than weddings right now, but I am working to change that, and one way would be advertising.
    Thank you for pointing out WU’s company philosophy, so that other advertisers can be made aware of what they are supporting with their ad dollars.
    I’ve only photographed one gay wedding, but it was in our downtown, and had a number of couples participating.
    And as you say, I wasn’t taking ‘gay’ pictures at all.
    I was taking pictures of people who loved each other enough to stand up in public and proclaim the desire to spend the rest of their days with each other. Just like the other weddings I’ve photographed.
    And it was wonderful! I was so happy for everybody, even though I knew that their journey would have people that might not understand.
    Love is… and that’s what matters.
    Thanks to David Poller and David Hobby (of Strobist.com) for helping to spread the word.

  47. You are an inspiration. Thank you for standing up for what you believe is right.

  48. Anne:

    I’ve photographed 500 weddings in the last ten years, though I do more writing than anything these days. I say that because I’m always grateful to see picture people who can break the photographers-can’t-write hex. And this paragraph is as perfect as any I’ve read lately:

    “A friend of mine asked me, “Aren’t there other publications who would be happy to advertise to the gay community?” And, you know, yes, I’m quite sure there are. But I chose Weddings Unveiled because I’m not trying to advertise to “the gay community.” I’m advertising to couples who are getting married. This couple didn’t get “gay married.” They didn’t have a “gay wedding.” They got married. They had a wedding. They share their lives, their joys and sorrows, and all the mundane daily things that we all share with our partners. They are just people. In love. Committed to one another.”

    Really nice job.

    p.s. Your invocation of Dr. King is spot on, and not just for the great quote you chose. It’s spot on because the South didn’t really take the civil rights movement seriously until it began to hurt them in their wallet. The Montgomery bus boycott was a shock to the system, just as the shock of losing advertisers (and swimming in a sea of bad press) will be to Weddings Unveiled in the coming days.

  49. “These aren’t our personal beliefs, of course, but you know … .” That’s pathetic.

    But your letter is lovely, in spite of your having to write it from a place of anger.

    I hope they regret this someday.

  50. your letter is brilliant. i wish i lived in atlanta and was getting married. you rock.

    and now you have a big fan in brooklyn, ny. ;-)

  51. I am not married and not gay… but I am deeply in love (and have been for a long time) and this post brought tears to my eyes. It is really just about being in love. Well said… thank you.

  52. Anne,

    I am having a very hard time digesting your post. Not because of the topic but for the simple fact that just a few short months ago the same exact thing happened to me. The exception was it wasn’t my work they judged, it was me personally that they judged. I was floored! The conversation on the other end of the phone I could tell was painful for the person speaking but the words they spoke cut like a knife. Thank you for standing up for what you believe in and the photo of the couple is beautiful. I just hope that in time ignorance towards same sex couples, families, LGBT anyone….fades. However it is people like you and me that have to continue to fight…

    You have inspired me to tell my painful story..

    Thank you for sharing your heart.
    Lots of love,
    Marcia

  53. I’m glad there are people still fighting for Marriage. I used to think I was bi-sexual. The way the world is going- everyone will be bullyied into compliance with the lie that homosexuals can be “married”. Maybe part of the problem is that heterosexuals for the most part lack a clear understanding of the call of marriage– but what I can tell you as a reformed bi-sexual is that I should have found MORE encouragement to not “follow” what I thought was my heart. The truth is that people can have attractions to all sort of people and even things– that doesnt make it right o healthy. Marriage is a safe place for sex and bringing forth children– making families. Stop letting old hurts dictate your life. Work hard. If you want to be married–no one is stopping you and you can find people who will support you figuring out how to relate to the opposite sex. Thank you to all the people who cared enough to tell me the truth and help me on my own journey.

    • You’ve been brainwashed into denying half of your sexuality. But you’re too ridiculous for me to even feel sorry for you, I just feel disgusted by you.

  54. It is because of people like you, Anne, that I believe the world is ultimately headed in the right direction. Thank you for being so brave and sharing this story. I look forward to a day when all people in love are represented in WU and the like…

  55. Wow. I am so proud of you for sharing this with all of us. It reminds me of an (unnamed) album company that wouldn’t produce an album of a same sex wedding (which may have been worse since it was definitely on the grounds of their personal beliefs). However, advertising? I think it is so sad that mostly they fear that the image will offend their readers… sad that they don’t think more of their readers.

    I think the best response for them is to print an entire issue dedicated to same sex marriages! That’d be awesome :)

  56. Anne, thank you for posting this and for your amazing heart and your amazing talent. I am just appalled that Weddings Unveiled feels this way. Your image is gorgeous, the couple is fabulous, and I hope everyone knows that every single blogger I know is proud and honored to publish ALL types of weddings on our sites!

  57. I can’t say enough how much I loved your response back to them.

    The world needs more people like you.

    WU just committed suicide….which is probably for the best. Since I and MANY others do not want to support their narrow, discriminatory views.

  58. Anne,

    You rock! Don’t change, don’t compromise, don’t do it their way. I, and 1001 other wedding professionals, couples and open-minded individuals support you 100%.

  59. This isn’t an issue of gay hate or even free speech. It’s about capitalism and money and greed. The magazine probably doesn’t care who is getting married to whatever gender. But they do care if an ad reflects poorly on their publication. Think about it, if someone gets offended by that ad, they’re going to walk away thinking “That publication supports that ad, hence, I won’t buy that publication.” I’m telling you, it’s ALL about money.

    • Well, sure, it’s all about money.

      Which, when push comes to shove, is the worst motivation for doing anything if it means selling out your beliefs.

  60. I’m sure my comment will be buried in the avalanche, here, but I just wanted to add my 2 cents:

    By saying “These aren’t our personal beliefs, of course, but, you know…” the implicit statement is, “We aren’t actively against the marriage of same-sex couples, but we are comfortable with passively perpetuating the belief that it’s wrong.”

    Anyone can try to claim that they’re not anti-homosexuality or anti-equality, but when your actions speak otherwise, the statement is quite clear. I’m a heterosexual, married woman, but you sure can bet I’ll be suggesting to my friends and family that they look elsewhere for wedding publications.

    Anne, your photo is beautiful; thank you for sharing it, and thank you very much for sharing your experience. If it doesn’t change anything in the views and policies of this publication, I certainly hope it can at least serve to educate and help others!

  61. Anne,

    Thank you for taking a stand, having the grace to articulate it in such a powerful fashion, and sharing online.

    Attitudes will change.

    “I don’t shoot gay weddings or straight weddings, Christian weddings or Jewish weddings, good weddings or bad weddings. I photograph PEOPLE on their wedding day.”

    and THAT is the heart of the matter.

  62. I was raised and continue to be a very ‘liberal’ person in my beliefs. Unfortunately, as was your experience, I often feel shamed by my naïveté and my genuine belief that I am part of the majority… I am disillusioned to find I am part of a minority who believe in equality, opportunity, and respect for all people. Often, I am heart broken to find that those people I had always believed were aligned with my ‘liberal-ness’ are afraid to stand up for our ‘shared’ beliefs when they are challenged. More often than not I am astounded by the close-mindedness of the world. Sucks. I hope I raise my girls to be secure in themselves and their beliefs, and to have the courage and testicular-fortitude to stand up for both when (and I say WHEN and not IF) they are challenged.

    I’m glad you’ve shared this. It helps restore my belief that there are other people who are willing and proud to BE (hopefully) the force that effects change in our world!

  63. Bravo to you for not backing down and making this public. People who turn the other way on issues like this are doing everyone a disservice and are enabling discrimination. This really fired me up so I can imagine that dealing with it firsthand must be infutiating. Thank you for being the one to speak up and for not simply accepting their response and changing your ad. You should be proud of youself lady!

  64. Might I suggest that all of us who are saddened and outraged by this take a minute to go to Weddings Unveiled’s Facebook page and post the link to this letter in the comments sections of everything they post, so they are aware that we are aware? Spread the word, spread these words, but make sure they know how they are being perceived…

    http://www.facebook.com/WeddingsUnveiledMagazine?fref=ts

    • Thanks for the constructive suggestion. After reading this beautifully written testimony to living our beliefs with honor & courage, but before reading the comments, I went to WU’s website & used thier “contact us” page to give them my feedback, with a link to this blog entry. Either or both is a great idea! I’m also going to post this link to Ellen’s fb page.
      Good luck & courage to all fighting for marriage equity in particular & civil rights in general.

  65. I didn’t even notice the “warehouse stacked with bags of coffee beans” until I read that line. I only was drawn to the emotion of the image and the two beautiful people in love on their beautiful day. That’s what a wedding is all about.

    Beautiful capture. Sorry others didn’t see that.

  66. Sad story honestly. But thank you for not backing down Anne.

  67. Your work is amazing & you are amazing because you don’t see a wedding as a product, but as a real moment in people’s lives. I find the concept of weddings, of standing up before everyone & saying “back me on this” profoundly moving, but a lot of the weddings I’ve been to lately have felt so art directed, so hard-working at being an exquisite fantasy of a party, that they outshone the love. And the photos of the party were stunning, but just that.

    WU says they are for “sophisticated” & “intelligent” brides but clearly that’s not their intended audience. I applaud you for having your ad rejected, and for having your photos rejected from another magazine for being too much about the occasions & not enough about the trappings. You are really a photojournalist who does weddings, not a “wedding photographer.”

    Keep doing your awesome job, and keep being true to what these occasions are all about despite the Wedding Industrial Complex’s attempts to make you feel that Real isn’t wanted on Fantasy Day.

  68. As an openly gay man, I’d like to say thank you. Thank you for making me feel a little bit better about the future. Thank you for giving me the courage to say “my husband”, instead of “my partner”, the next time I mention him to a stranger, and even some family members. Thank you for inspiring all of the other people to post such lovely comments. Thank you for understanding that love is love and for seeing the beauty in all of its forms. Finally, thank you for helping me decide which magazine I want to stop advertising in and supporting.

  69. I’m not surprised they reviewed the ad because most big magazines screen their imagery. I wouldn’t think this image would get rejected. I agree they will look back and be ashamed. To Weddings Unveiled, there is still time because It’s always the right time to do the right thing.

  70. I just have to say that I think the photo is very well done (love the coffee bags and the dresses are great!) If they had a problem with photo quality – ok, could be reasonable. Obviously not the case :) This is classic! Frankly, I see advertising that is much more “heterosexual geared” that I find racy/explicit – I would categorize this photo as sweet and vanilla and lovely! With so much angst and violence and anger in the world, why is it so bad that consenting adults find love with other consenting adults? Rather than make pariahs of people who may be a bit different than the majority in some ways, is it not more healthy and beneficial to include them? I can honestly say ( and I am brutally honest) that if I were a bride-to-be shopping for a photographer, this ad would not offend me in the least – I would simply want a similar photo of me, my hound, and my lovely husband in this same type of setting! Good people come in all colors, genders, and orientations! Much love! M

  71. I have a bit of a hard time taking this seriously, since it’s a WAAAAAAY over-reaction to one person’s personal opinion. Maybe the person doing ads is just a bit closed-minded, and doesn’t want to rock the boat.

    Does that really need to invoke the march on Birmingham? I know some people live to get on the soap box, but I would definitely exchange a bit more back-and-forth with the magazine officially before you think yourself a crusader worthy of song. Measure-twice, cut once, because you’re already costing them revenue. Make triply-sure that you didn’t just catch someone on a bad day, and let management know you are going to blog to 100 million people…

    Just my 2 cents. I’m sure you’ll all rail against me as a bigot.

    • I think you missed the reference to the editor talking to the rest of the team at the magazine and the multiple phone calls Anne referenced.

  72. So proud to share the same profession as you. Thank you for your courage.

  73. Beautifully written and I’m so glad you have 100+ positive comments. I am really glad you had this experience because it shines a light on the reality of our super bride-centric and LGBT non-inclusive industry. It sucks that you had to go through this but your story will hopefully enlighten others and I really appreciate that you shared it so eloquently.

  74. Hi Anne,
    As a same sex wedding photographer that photographs both traditional and LGBT weddings, this letter touches me like you’d never realize! We have also submitted same sex weddings to publications that have been accepted, only to receive an email that they would no longer publish the wedding because the advertisers were not comfortable with it. I can not even believe this still happens in America! Coming not only from an LGBT photographer, but one that also happens to shoot with her gay partner, you just made the world a better place!

  75. Yes, this is the time to do the thing that is right ( & beautiful )

  76. Bravo! The first thing that entered my mind when I saw the photo was, “there’s a cute couple in a cute, loving moment.” Then I noticed it! They’re sitting on burlap bags, kinda cool. Shame on the magazine for seeing anything more than that and for being cowards. And again, bravo to you for not shooting gay weddings, but just shooting weddings!

    When I was a kid my Uncle lived far away, but we had a great relationship through letters and phone calls. He was an artist and into music and we connected. My parents always talked about him and his roommate when we were little. As a teen I went to visit my uncle, who I’d only met in person when I was 7. He told me that he was gay. When I got home I confronted my father for not telling me and accused him of being ashamed of his older brother, that must be why he never told me he was gay. He said, “I never told you what your mother and I do in the bedroom either.” He floored me with that, he saw no difference. It’s just two people in love and the rest is not my business.

  77. your photo is very poorly executed and was most likely rejected by the magazine for being an example of the sort of inferior photography they want no part of. If you had chosen a better photo that merited inclusion in a magazine then there would not have been a “controversy.” As it stands, you got rejected because you tried to submit a shoddy photo to a respectable magazine, not for any political reasons you could possibly come up with.

    Try harder next time; you might even be able to pay to get your work published.

    • The editor was quoted as saying “We just don’t feel comfortable publishing an ad featuring a same-sex couple.” Pretty simple math. Your subjective opinion of the photo’s quality is entirely beside the point. Might you be envious of the attention this viral post (and it’s author) will receive, and the business the photographer will book as a result?

    • Try again, asdf. You totally missed the whole point of the article.

  78. Hi Anne – Thank you for your beautiful letter. My partner and I live in Washington state, and we are getting married this April 7th – our 26th anniversary! To be honest, I never thought I’d see this day. But in you and other people younger than we are, I see the fruit of decades of activism by gay and lesbian people and their straight allies, back to times when it was really dangerous to speak out. Today we see a generation of people who respond to places like Weddings Unveiled as you have: by saying, “Are you KIDDING me?” You are the activist now – yes you are – and they will not forget your incredulity. They’ll remember it in the years to come, when money, the lever that can move the world, finally moves them. In the meantime, thanks for making our lives more beautiful! With respect and appreciation, Felicia and Gem.

  79. ^ asdf, the editor was quoted as saying “We just don’t feel comfortable publishing an ad featuring a same-sex couple.” Pretty simple math. Your subjective opinion of the photo’s quality is entirely beside the point. Might you be envious of the attention this viral post (and it’s author) will recieve, and the business the photographer will book as a result?

  80. Hey Anne,

    I’m saddened and uplifted by this. Saddened because of this publication’s utter disregard for what is right and uplifted because of your classy response and all the positive energy this has inspired.

    Someday people will wake up and hopefully someday is soon.

  81. I read this and was so beyond moved. Love is just that, LOVE!

    The best part of this whole article for me was your father’s comment. It brought tears to my eyes and made my heart grow!

    Kudos to you!

  82. Two things about this story…..#1 I find it sad that the magazine refused to run a photograph on a same sex couple in a PAID adv. (usually all magazines are whores for money). Typical American republic thinking. If nothing else it is a growing market in the US as more and more states are realizing it’s illegal to discriminate. As a Canadian this I find teh anti-gay stance in America a joke.

    #2……THIS PHOTOGRAPH SUCKS! It’s an under exposed B&W image. >>CENSORED<< The only thing this photograph has going for it is shock value of two women kissing (and a bad one at that). How about becoming a better photographer and submitting a better photograph in the first place? Kudos for considering using a same sex couple in an adv but don’t make it such a shitty image. If I was the editor I would have refused it too. Not because it’s a same sex couple but because the photograph itself is lousy.

    • Bruce, I will not censor your comments except if you insist on using bad manners. It is bad manners to say derogatory things about another person’s appearance. Feel free to critique my skill and share your opinion on the issue of marriage equality, but please be a gentleman and refrain from making rude comments about these women.

      • SOrry I have to disagree that “all magazines are whores for money.” Not true. As publisher of a wedding magazine in Florida, I have to say we’ve booted several people out of our magazine for what we consider lack of ethics. One was a big hotel that was shameless in their actions. Oh, they all had good photos in their ads. They just didn’t have any morals.

  83. Bruce,
    Paid advertisers get to pick their own images to capture their audiences – who knows what either bride looked like before and who cares. This isn’t about that. If it was, they’d have asked for a different image of the same two women. Seems like you are trying to steer the discussion from the true conversation and over to her skill and really, it doesn’t matter. If you are paying for a spot, it usually doesn’t matter. And the magazine in this case only seems to care because of content, not style.

    As a photographer, it may not be my favorite black and white but that’s up to the payi g couple to decide not me as an art critic.

    • Jen… I’m a Canadian. Same sex marriage isn’t an issue in my country as we recognize human rights are human rights. i’m not trying to steer the discussion away from the conservative stance the magazine took – it was wrong period. However, this photographer in now getting a 1000X more exposure than the ad would have given her because people are reposting this story for FREE for her. How much better would it have been if it was rockin’ image? This one sucks. The ONLY reason this image was chosen was because of the shock value of 2 women kissing…it has to be because EVERYTHING else about this photograph is horrible! I would be embarrassed to attach my name as a photographer to this photograph. Not because it’s a lesbian wedding (I’ve photographed both lesbian and gay couple’s weddings before) but because it’s technically and artistically crap.

      • Bruce,
        As a “professional” (I use the term loosely because your behavior is anything but) photographer you should be ashamed of yourself bashing another photographer’s work in such a way, not to mention your rude comments about her clients. While you may have your criticisms of this photo in particular or even in Anne’s body of work as a whole, you sir are extremely rude and very UN-professional! I wouldn’t hire you simply based on your demeanor, your work not withstanding. However, while we are on the subject, I don’t particularly care for your over processed, selectively colored, cheesy HDR, warped and overly tilted work. From one professional to another, of course. ;)

  84. To Anne & The Authors of the 117 Comments Before Me –

    So far I haven’t seen any comments even remotely in line with what I’m about to say and I hope that’s not because unfavorable comments are being filtered out. What I have to say is not popular in the world today but it’s the ultimate truth and it must be heard. So, it is with the benefit of the doubt that many will see this post; I write to you the following words of hope:

    The culture we live in is saturated with lies. We try to discern the truth from the lies but the messages are so often convoluted, so polluted with error that we cannot. Our consciences become dull and our ability to know truth weakens with each tacit lie we unwittingly come to accept as truth. But there is truth; a truth that will set you free, a truth that will save. That truth is hope in the promise of wholeness and forgiveness through repentant faith in Jesus. Yes, I’m talking about repentance from the sin of homosexuality. Please read on. Those of you who do will be blessed!

    Many of you will say, “That’s not a message of hope at all – that’s hate!” But I tell you, what’s more hateful than confronting falsehood is ignoring falsehood. Again, many of you will say that being gay is not wrong. After all, who are you to say what’s right or wrong for me? There’s a lot to be said in response to that question but it ultimately comes down to this: Do you recognize God’s word as the ultimate authority of truth or do you have another standard of truth? If your standard does not come from God then, yes, your point would be valid. Who could argue that being gay is a sin at all, if there is no definite, absolute standard by which right and wrong is judged? But we all know that there is – there must be – a standard of right and wrong to which we are all accountable. Every sane person agrees, murder is wrong. So, it’s fair to say that some things are ultimately right and some things are ultimately wrong. Then the question for all of us becomes how do we determine what is right and what is wrong? This comes back to your standard of truth. Is truth from God or is truth from some other place? Your response to that question is your decision to make and you ought to make that decision carefully because its ramifications are huge – eternally huge. God’s word is very clear on that, “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

    Here’s what Romans 1 says about all of this:
    “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”

    Woah.

    God’s word gives us insight into everything I’ve written about up to this point. Men (meaning humankind, both men and women) know by virtue of creation that there is a God and he is the standard of right and wrong. But look at verse 22. This is where our culture is today. We say that we’re progressive, that we’ve come such a long way with marching forward the “civil rights” of homosexuals. We falsely claim to be wise and in doing so we are foolish. As a culture we have exchanged the truth about God for a lie.

    Here’s what happens as a result:
    “24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

    I’m convinced that most homosexuals are trapped in a consuming lust and passion for one another and for their lifestyle. They know, deep in their heart of hearts, as we’ve seen in Romans 1:21-22 that God is the ultimate standard of right and wrong and that homosexual behavior is a serious violation of that standard. But they’re trapped; they’re enslaved to their sin. Psalm 107 speaks to that feeling of entrapment you may be feeling, even in this very moment.

    Psalm 107:10-12
    Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    prisoners in affliction and in irons,
    11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
    and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
    12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
    they fell down, with none to help.

    “With none to help.” Is that how you’re feeling now as you read this? For many of you, the answer is “no.” But for those of you who can say that you know the feeling of darkness, the feeling of falling down with no one to help, I can finally offer you the message of hope I promised eight paragraphs ago. It’s this:

    Psalm 107:4-9
    Some wandered in desert wastes,
    finding no way to a city to dwell in;
    5 hungry and thirsty,
    their soul fainted within them.
    6 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
    7 He led them by a straight way
    till they reached a city to dwell in.
    8 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
    9 For he satisfies the longing soul,
    and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

    There it is in verse 6, then again in verses 7-9. What a glorious offer of hope! Cry out to the Lord and be delivered from your distress! We are designed by our creator to be satisfied by Him, not by our external identity, not in our lifestyle or our friends but in God. It’s really that simple. There’s a whole lot of bad news to get to one point of Good News but that’s precisely why it’s good news. We have to see the ugliness of our sin first, whether it’s homosexuality or drunkenness or an addiction to pornography or whatever it may be. We have to see our sin for what it is, trust in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and repent. I urge you with my whole heart to seek Christ now, while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6-9).

    I suspect this comment will receive a firestorm of replies and I’ll let you know up front that I don’t intend to reply to any of them. My hope and prayer is that when you read this you’ll examine these Scriptures and your heart and cry out to the Lord in your trouble. He will forgive, He will save – there is hope.

    • Most people understand how this works, but just in case.
       
      First off, don’t talk to me about Leviticus. Don’t even. Are you doing everything in Leviticus? Really? Every time you have your period, you go off by yourself for seven days and you don’t touch anything for fear of getting your lady cooties on it? And on the eighth day you take two pigeons or two turtles to a priest and have them sacrificed? And you don’t wear any clothes with mixed fibers…no rayon/spandex, no cotton/polyester? Your church doesn’t let any handicapped people near the altar? You think buying slaves is fine? If you believe everything in Leviticus, I think you are a terrible person, and also a very weird person. Seriously. Just shut up about Leviticus.
       
      All right, what about the New Testament? Well, it’s good to be a little knowledgeable here. When Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, he had just visited an area where people were having orgies in the temples, castrating themselves in honor of Venus, and having sex with child prostitutes. In that context, his talk about people exchanging the natural for the unnatural is probably a little more specific than being gay and lesbian. As far as Corinthians goes…no one is really sure what the Greek words “malakois” and “arsenokoitai” really mean. The most likely bet is that one of them refers to married men who use child prostitutes, which is in fact disgusting.
       
      The truth is, I take Paul’s opinion with a grain of salt anyway, because he seemed to be okay with slavery also. I don’t know anything about slavery in his time and region, and I doubt that it matched the horrors and holocausts of slavery in the Americas, but I’m sure it was wrong. Anti-abolitionists and segregationists dug up Bible verses supporting their positions, too, but in the end most people listened to their innate understanding of good and evil.
       
      Paul was human, a product of his era and his culture. I think it’s okay to recognize that people have evolved and become more enlightened in some ways over the centuries. As far as I can tell, Jesus was kind of hoping for that. 
       
      Speaking of Jesus, let’s move on to the Gospels. What does Christ Himself say about same-sex couples? 
       
      Nothing.
       
      If it’s important, why didn’t He mention it? If you believe He’s the Son of God, and perfect, I think it would be sort of heresy to suggest He just, like, forgot. You could say they neglected to write down the anti-gay rant part of the Sermon on the Mount, but whatever, I could argue that they left out the part when he said, “Blessed are the gays, for they are God’s favorites.” And honestly, my guess would seem more in character than yours.
       
      The most logical conclusion is that Jesus didn’t care if people were gay.
       
      What did He care about? We know his Big Rules are Love God and Love One Another. Other favorite topics include taking care of poor people and working on improving yourself instead of going around judging others. Now whether you’re a Christian or not, you are almost certainly doing a better job at these things than I am, but you’ll probably still admit that just focusing on these things is plenty of a challenge for one lifetime.
       
      Even if a Christian can’t convince herself that it’s okay to be gay, she should ask herself why other sins aren’t condemned with the same fervor. Why aren’t judgmental people kept away from children who might pick up their bad habits? Why aren’t people who aren’t generous enough with their money (i.e., almost all of us) ostracized? The argument that gays aren’t trying to change doesn’t hold up. Are you trying to become someone who sells all her belongings and gives all her money to the poor, like Jesus suggested? Is that going to happen soon? If not, then who are you to get up in arms about this one thing? And if so, I’ll buy your elliptical machine, if it’s cheap.

      • You say Jesus didn’t care if people were gay, but he DID say he wasn’t there to refute all the teachings that came before him. So, that basically suggests that, by being silent, he was saying it WASN’T okay to be gay.

        Just to clarify, I’m an atheist and do not agree at all with the Christian arguments against homosexuality.

      • What an intelligent and rational response. You very eloquently (and humorously) put into words my thoughts every time someone picks and chooses which part of the Bible they want to shove down our throats. As a human being who happens to also be Christian, I thank you.

    • Josh W: A prime example of some religious people’s baffling ability to try to convince others that their hate is actually just a different kind of love.

      • Cognitive dissonance, a requirement for the devoutly religious.

  85. Thank you for protecting love. For all of us. Xxxxooooo

  86. The photo is great and you were absolutely correct in your response.

    And Josh. You now that the racists and slave owners believed God was on their side too.

  87. Curious how many states have to legalise same-sex marriage before “it’s the right time”. Totally agree with your sentiments about them not getting “gay married”. We have no idea if they’re even gay – all we know is they love each other.

    And definitely a photo like that doesn’t reach out just to “the gay community”. It reaches out to the non-homophobic community.

  88. Josh W,

    I started to correct you on all your misquotes and obvious bitterness and then I decided you just wouldn’t get it anyway.

    Please try reading the bible again and this time really read it.

  89. You were NOT naive. If you are naive, I am, too.

    I’m glad you wrote about this. It needs to be heard. I hope you find a publication that would be happy to print this photo.

    Josh W, Recognize that that is YOUR personal BELIEF. Do not write as though it is fact. Facts can be proven. We are all entitled to our own beliefs. That is what makes the world beautiful. I have nothing else to say to you.

  90. Firstly, thank you Anne for a lovely read and a lesson in how to let a publishing company know that they have disappointed you. I can’t see why they would take such a stance whiles avoiding making a stand about the principle. Either they’re for same-sex marriage, against same-sex marriage, or have no opinion on same-sex marriage and so it isn’t an issue for them. What they have actually do is say ‘our owner is anti-gay and we do what he/she says’.

    Editorialising advertising is wrong! Unless they can show that it is specifically defamatory, inciting hate, violence, criminal activity, or offensive enough to a significant section of society that there would be implications covered by the previous categories, then they should take the money and run (the ad).

    As an exercise in good business practice, I’m sure they are starting to realise that the internet is more powerful than their own publication, and word of mouth – verbal or social network – is mightier than their editing pen.

    If they truly have a problem with same-sex marriage then they are welcome to make it clear on their cover or in their editor’s introduction. I’d bet a years salary that they have no problem taking your money for a non-specific advert even though you might’ve made that money photographing a same-sex marriage.

    Josh W. Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear. You have the right to your opinion, of course you do. You have the right to express that opinion, of course you do. But if you are going to hold an opinion based on a book written by human beings, then at least have the integrity to acknowledge that it is only your opinion – not fact!

    You said, and I quote you directly: “The culture we live in is saturated with lies.” How true that is. What you fail to see is that without hard evidence, ANY statement by ANY person from ANY source is potentially a lie. If the government tells you something that you disagree with and they won’t provide you with proof, then you can call it a lie. It may not be a lie, but without proof from them then it’s is open to the accusation. Agreed?

    Now look at the very book that you quote from. It was written by people who we have questionable historical proof of their existence and who are recounting stories often with little or no corroborating evidence. In actual fact, many of the biblical stories hold a striking similarity to stories told in much older religions and cultures. A hint of plagiarism there for a start.

    You are free to believe what you want, as is everybody else. Show some Christian tolerance & love. Show some humanity. Show some logic & intelligence. Don’t go trawling the internet looking for people to abuse and bash with your beliefs.

    For the record; I don’t believe in same-sex “marriage”. I consider “marriage” to be a religious state and as such, same-sex marriage is not appropriate under any religion that doesn’t welcome it – why be a member of a club that actively hates you? Divorced Catholics can’t re-marry in a Catholic church (unless you’ve paid the right “donation”). A Jew can’t get married in a Mosque. I can’t get married in a Synagogue. It’s the same principle; exclusivity based on religious belief.

    However, I do believe that each human being has the right to be happy and to have a loving & committed relationship with whoever they find as their soul mate in this world. I fully support the right of any person to become legally partnered in the eyes of the law, society, and the state. Full equality for ALL!

    But back to the magazine; as a photographer with a couple of weddings under my belt and a gay wedding or two in my personal life, it would never have crossed my mind to decline the money for the job or the invitation to be part of something special. A magazine that would reject revenue during a recession based, apparently, on no particular principle is not going to fare well in the near future and so I can only say “good riddance to them and their lack of spine & humanity”.

    Thanks again to Anne for giving us a good read and for showing us how to make a stance without being aggressive.

    Pete.

  91. Thank you for your beautiful photo and your elegant response. I hope that your response brings you more business than WU ever could, from couples of all kinds.

    Best wishes for a fantastic year,

    Celia Milton, Celebrant

  92. What a wonderful response. I have a gay son and even in these “enlightened” times I still get hugely frustrated by the attitudes of many so called intelligent people and “socially aware organisations”. It’s oh so easy and cowardly to hide behind the “…These aren’t our personal beliefs, of course, but, you know…” so good on you for “outing” them.

  93. Perhaps you could have asked them first about what you wanted to do with your ad.

    Show WU the same respect that You would show same sex and opposite sex marriages.

    Just remember, It’s not about us as photographers on the wedding day.

    • actually Rick… it is ALL ABOUT HER when she is advertising her business… she is showing what she is about as a photographer .. her style, her eye, her versatility.

      The magazine has also just shown the world what it is all about too… and with this story out there.. people will be better informed where to spend their money.

      • Here in is the problem with today’s “photographers”………Me Me ME!
        Your business will not survive with this attitude!

    • I have plenty of experience of submitting ad copy to wedding magazines for my wedding related business. I have NEVER felt that I needed to check with them first that what I am proposing for my ad is ok. Because it’s about MY design, and putting forward a message about my business, and that isn’t up to the wedding magazine to decide. If I’m designing my own ad, then I get to pick the content – something that is representative of what my business does.

      If I submitted something that wasn’t high enough resolution to print well, then I would expect them to let me know so I could do something about it. I would not expect them to try and change the message I wanted to put across, and if they did, then I would feel I was compromising the core values of my business, which I’m not prepared to do.

      I don’t see why Anne should feel she should have ‘checked’ with the magazine first that the message she wants to put across is ok. In the same way that I don’t feel that a same sex couple should have to check first with the world that their decision to marry is ok with everyone.

  94. Brilliant letter!

    Also beautiful photograph.

    Thank you for telling your story – it is going to youth group with me at church this morning. We are learning about social injustice this winter and how to have the courage and strength to stand up and make the world more just. Your story, together with some of the comments will make great discussion points. Happily the 11-13 year olds in my group are always pretty shocked by blatant homophobia… most of them have gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans folks in their families or communities and they don’t go to gay weddings either.. just weddings :) Best news is that in a few years this is the generation that will be the magazine editors and running the rest of the world as well.

  95. I just went over to the magazine’s Facebook page and posted:

    “Please change your mind and run Anne Almasy’s ad. You have chosen to be on the wrong side of one of the most important issues of our time, just as if you’d turned down advertising for an interracial couple 50 years ago. Someday, you will look back and be embarrassed by this action. So why not do the right thing now?”

    I also made sure to tweet them to add my voice to teh chorus.

    Beautiful ad. So sorry you were wronged.

  96. I wish I’d been able to see this years ago. When my husband and I got married here in Canada, the photographer we’d booked called shortly before the wedding to tell us that she “wasn’t okay with it” and canceled. Why she’d taken the job in the first place, I’ll never know. We had to scramble to fill the gap, at a time when we should have been just moving forward toward a wonderful day celebrating love. It worked out. We found a new photographer. The day was amazing. But that conversation with that photographer still makes me shake.

    That you hit this wall is disheartening, I know – but your response is perfect. I’m sorry you had to experience this. It’s too bad Weddings Unveiled Magazine didn’t take the opportunity to move the world forward.

  97. That photograph is absolutely beautiful. When love is so clearly present, how can the editors at WU — no matter how baroque and hateful their beliefs — really deny it? As a happily married person myself, it breaks my heart that some marriages are deemed more “appropriate” than others. It should only matter whether two people love each other enough to commit themselves for life to each other.

  98. I cried as I read this and my heart broke, too. I am saddened, disgusted, dismayed, appalled, and truly dumbfounded. Anne, I do not know you, but you are now my hero.

    As a mother of two young children, I try every single day to teach my children about right and wrong, acceptance and love, and how they should treat others. They are only 8 and 11, but I plan to share this article with them and discuss it with them.

    My husband and I chose to raise them in the city (Chicago) and send them to public school instead of moving to the suburbs for the very specific reason of raising them in the “real world.” They do not see color. They do not see their classmates with physical and mental disabilities as “weird” or “different.”

    They love their babysitters, Kimm & Jo, a lesbian couple I was fortunate enough to meet while planning their wedding and have now become part of their lives. (In fact, they have been urging Kimm to take Jo’s last name and ask them about babies ALL THE TIME. I actually think Kimm & Jo just want them to shut up already.)

    I am utterly disappointed in “Weddings Unveiled” and will never buy it or read it again. And I certainly won’t be giving them any of my advertising dollars. Ever. Even when they do see their ignorance and stupidity and come out with a public apology in support of gay marriage. It will happen. Because they will see that as a good business decision since they will lose business with this news.

    Thank you, Anne, for sharing this. Thank you.

  99. I have posted this on facebook in several of my wedding groups and I hope that others will share with their networking circles too.

  100. To those who are trying to deflect the argument away from the main point (the fact that WU refused to print the ad because it depicts a same sex couple) by saying that the quality of the photograph is no good – please remember that photography is art, which is a highly subjective thing. I have art in my home which other people may hate, but I love it. Likewise, some visual media that I don’t like at all may be someone else’s favourite piece.

    It would appear that you have entirely missed the point. Whether you like the photo or not from the point of view of composition etc is neither here nor there. Anne chose this photo because she felt it represented something that she has to say about her work. WU refused it solely on the basis of it being a same-sex couple.

  101. When will people quit worrying about their bottom line and do what’s right? Soon, I hope.

  102. You are missing the point, Unveiled Magazine is a few who has the moral obligation and desires to not publish same sex marriages, they are standing their ground on what they believe in and it’s their right to do what they want based on that. If you have a trouble with their moral views, too bad, not everyone has to follow, believe, or support in same sex marriages. Just because they are not following the trend in this doesn’t mean they have to.

    • Trend? Sorry, it’s not a trend. As a business they don’t have the luxury of ignoring and insulting this much of a market if they want to build their advertising base. Moral issues aside, it’s stupid business on their part.

      Maybe this is why I’d never even heard of them until this morning.

    • Actually, they didn’t take a stand. They took the cowardly stance. They were afraid to take a stance. They told this photographer that they didn’t object to the image themselves.

      The few people who have posted negative comments clearly didn’t even read the post or their reading comprehension skills are extremely weak.

    • This is no trend. This is the way it will be from now on. The magazine has come down on the wrong side of history, and years from now, those who took this stand will be looked at as the same as we now look as those who objected to interracial marriage 50 years ago. Our grandchildren will look around at their better world, one in which the love is all that matters, and wonder why we made such a big deal about what to them will be commonplace.

  103. This is brilliant. You made a wonderful gesture for the LGBT community. I too hope that soon, we will live in a world where no one is afraid of people being offended by who you love and who you marry.

  104. What an amazing post. Thank you for sharing it. It touched me deeply. It also gave me much to think about. Print is always so hungry for advertising support that I was shocked that they turned down your ad. It clearly underscores the work that still has to be done in the wedding community and in our society in the quest for equality. I’m also very very sad.
    Thank you again.
    Kathy Ritondo

  105. I took a took at how the magazine described itself on its Facebook page, which is as a “stunning publication reflective of today’s modern sophisticate, characterized by a fresh, edgy take on classic style that appeals to intelligent, modern brides.”

    Obviously not sophisticated, edgy, intelligent or modern enough tough!

    Perhaps it’s time the alter that description!

  106. So happy to have bummed into this article on Zite. Great photo. Great article that is surprising but spot on. Keep to what’s true to your heart and passion.

  107. Your letter was beautiful and perfect. I really am surprised that it just became 2013 and we’re not through this part of the journey yet. The part where all the parts of society are not shrugging and saying “meh” when the idea of gay marriage is brought up. It’s already happened so many places, I’d assumed it was happening everywhere. But I could “feel” this editor struggling with it – the whole “talk to my staff and call you back” thing. Really? How is this hard? Refuse the ad and risk a whole lot of your geographic/online community taking you to task for your bigotry, or run the ad and be a positive force. Really, if they would have run the ad and gotten complaints? All the mag would have to do is to say “we believe love is love” and they’d have many more positive responses than negative in support of their publication. Shame. Still, in just a few years (indeed, now!) they’re going to be the guys with the hoses in the black and white newsreels in Alabama hosing down black people… today those guys simply look like the neanderthal bullies they are.

  108. So proud! I love this part “I don’t shoot gay weddings or straight weddings, Christian weddings or Jewish weddings, good weddings or bad weddings. I photograph PEOPLE on their wedding day.” What a great reminder.. to everyone!

  109. Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s a shame that this should still be happening.

    The part where the editor says the decision isn’t a reflection of personal beliefs only makes things worse–why would anyone want to work with someone who stays with a company that acts counter to their beliefs?

    The couple in your photo is lovely. They look very happy and in love–and that speaks volumes.

  110. This is a wonderful post and I really hope the magazine follows up on it.

    What boggles my mind is that the editor is somehow involved in the advertising selection. As a 12 year veteran of the publishing industry (mostly as an editor), not once has the art or sales production department asked me to approve or comment on an ad. Sure, none of our ads could be that provocative (not that this is), but some are pretty awful. Magazine editorial and sales must have a separation like church and state in order to be unbiased and taken seriously.

    I now seriously doubt Weddings Unveiled credibility and will definitely not consider it worth my time or money. This is just so lame on so many levels.

  111. ‘…“No,” I said. “No, I don’t have another photograph I would like to use.”…”

    good for you girl …and no, we don’t ‘know’ or understand why 10% of the population isn’t allowed to be seen in your magazine …

  112. you are a smart and wonderful person. Keep it up your standards are kind and true. You have recieved more
    accolades by doing this than you would paying for an advertisement.

    Lori

  113. As I’ve watched my nieces get married, I’ve been appalled by the overkill that wedding productions entail, and probably no element pisses me off more than just how trite and stilted most of wedding photography is. Your photo beautifully captures an honest, unstaged, candid expression of love and aptly demonstrates your talent. Who cares that the happy couple are both women? You’re justifiably proud of the image and right and righteous in your disappointment in the magazine.

  114. As I’ve watched marriage equality unfold across this country, I hope that in a few years the fact of two men marrying or two women marrying will be as unremarkable as a black marrying a white is today. I love both your photographs and your letter. Good luck to you.

  115. What a powerful letter! You go! And I thank you for your articulate phrasing about weddings and marriage! I *refuse* to talk about the debate over “gay marriage.” The debate is over *marriage,* denying consenting adults to say “I choose you!”
    Keep up the fight sistah!

  116. The photo is beautiful and I applaud you for sharing this. Like Dr. King said “The time is always right to do what’s right” and I think you are doing what’s right.

  117. “I’m shaking because I was so, so naive.” That’s how I feel every time I see this happening. I keep thinking the world is changing and learning to appreciate love and congratulate commitment. Then someone beats me over the head with a Bible. I’m a straight, married woman: Why do I take gay equality so personally? Because it was hard enough for people of two differing faiths to find a place to be “married” in a spiritual way – not joined by a judge. Because if my husband were an Orthodox Jew (rather than lapsed), we would have had to divorce 3 years ago, and I would have lost the other half of my very soul, so he could produce heirs. There are already so many “rules” created by man in an effort to please a God they seem to think is so exacting and angry. I think what hurts me so much is that I feel the presence and love of “God the Father” and I know my father appreciates all I do with a pure heart for others and for love. The idea of some vengeful, exacting God who would bring wrath upon any two people truly, selflessly in love, hurts me to my heart. See? Naive. I feel your pain, Anne. Keep doing what you do for those who will let you serve them with that great heart of yours!

  118. It’s a wonderful photo Anne & what you’ve said is a beautifully written, worthy viewpoint. I do think that someday we’ll look back on the conversation about gay marriage and wonder why it was ever a controversial issue in the first place. That being said, anyone here who doesn’t believe that at least a part of your motivation in sharing your moral outrage is driven by the desire to build your own business & income is delusional. I don’t say that as an accusation, but admire the way you’ve been able to steer this situation to your own economic advantage.

  119. Thank you Anne. Please, please keep doing what you are doing. Your love for love and people of all kind is admirable. I have never felt so comfortable with who I am as I do when I am around you. You are changing the world right in front of our eyes. You will never know how much you do with your photography, genuine love and words and passion for what is right.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    Much love to you, Anne. You are truly amazing.

    -Ricci Taylor

  120. I too am a wedding photographer, and I’m ready for the phrase “gay wedding” to be a thing of the past. Thank you for standing your ground, and making a point that needs to be made until we all get it right.

  121. What an amazingly shortsighted move on the part of Wedding Unveiled. I hope that your post about this experience haunts them for years to come.

    One aspect that you didn’t mention (and that most comments have ignored as well) is that this is actually a very poor business decision on the part of WU. It is good business to support weddings if you are in the wedding industry. Period.

    Second, taking a “no same sex wedding photo” approach doesn’t seem to be a strongly held belief of WU (if their comments to you were indicative of the actual conversations they were having behind the scenes) just that they are not sure it is the right time now. This is again short sighted as they seem to just be wavering on the fence about when they think the appropriate time is. Having a flip flopping opinion is not laudable in this instance and shows poor commitment and thinking.

    Finally, I am not sure which state WU is located in. I believe that 29 states have anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation. That puts discrimination based on sexual orientation in the same class as discrimination based on race or religion. Since they told you that the SOLE reason your ad was turned down was because of the sexual orientation of the couple, I think that you have a very strong discrimination case. Even though I doubt that you want to force them to accept your advertising at this point, I would love to hear what their lawyers think about the potential illegality of what they are doing.

  122. What a beautiful photograph!!! My heart broke for you as I read your letter. And for everyone else (many of us, in some way or another) who find themselves on the receiving end of actions, words that are based in fear and ignorance. Thank you so very much for writing and sharing this.

  123. Ugh. So sad, your brides look so in love and you can see their contentment. Great image of two beautiful women. Very sad decision on the editors behalf. Do they not realize same sex couples buy their magazines too? Shame on them.

  124. I’ll copy/paste what I wrote on your FB post…

    ‘Weddings Unveiled Magazine was my go-to magazine while planning my 2009 wedding and we were honored when our wedding was featured in the Fall 2009 issue. I’ve considered myself a lifelong ally and I always felt WU would be at the forefront in supporting marriage equality. Silly me. I’m greatly saddened this is not the case.

    Thank you for sharing your story, Anne.’

  125. Hi,
    Thanks for publishing this. I too was shocked at the lack of LGBTQ representation in the wedding world, so I decided to make LGBTQ weddings my specialty. I already have a thriving portrait business and because I’m gay, I think it is important to be attentive to this lack. Good for you!

  126. Weddings Unveiled just posted a response on their blog and Twitter:
    http://www.weddingsunveiledblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/our-apology.html

    Our Apology

    We are Terri and Brooke, the publishers of Weddings Unveiled Magazine. We hope that you will allow us the opportunity to address an important issue that has angered and disappointed many people. We are incredibly sad that same sex marriage is still an issue in our society. When we were faced with the decision of whether or not to publish Anne Almasy’s advertisement, we acted in a manner that does not reflect our personal beliefs. We truly believe that all love is beautiful and that all people have the right to marry. You might ask that if we feel that way, then why did we make this decision? Honestly, we knew that everyone would not share our belief that all people have the right to marry. The issue is very sensitive and it is also very divided. We knew that it was possible that people would be offended if we published the ad and we knew that it was possible that people would be offended if we did not. We are so sorry that we acted out of fear and uncertainty. We had never been faced with such a decision and we should have acted with our hearts.

    We are two women who operate a small business that we care deeply about. We love all weddings. We love all people and would never want to anger, offend or disappoint anyone. We are deeply moved by the outpouring of love and support for Anne. We are so sorry that we have disappointed you and we ask for your forgiveness. If Anne would still like to run her ad in Weddings Unveiled, then we would be proud to publish it.

    Sincerely,
    Terri and Brooke

    • WOW! Anne, you rock. Go you. See what happens when you stand up for the right thing?! IT WORKS!!!!!

  127. In the simplest possible terms, you’re right they’re wrong. They fully deserve to lose not only your advertising revenue but that from anyone else that has an ounce of moral fibre.
    I love your attitude about weddings, I’m totally there with you.

  128. Well said. Thank you for taking a stand and spreading the word. Hopefully other magazines will see this and avoid the same mistake.

  129. Anne, thank you for speaking for so many of us. I especially like your response, “I’m not trying to advertise to “the gay community.” I’m advertising to couples who are getting married”. I do battle over this issue, even with a few of my own family members. I will never understand how people who praise everything in the name of Jesus still don’t grasp that his teachings were based on love. Not hate. Not discrimination. Not judgment. Love. Love, period. Seeing a couple in love makes me happy. Gender matters about as much as hair color or presence of freckles. That would be – not at all. Never mind rejecting your ad, I wonder how many other advertisers the magazine will lose over this one unfortunate decision.

  130. Anne, thank you for writing this, and congratulations – you made a difference! I’m absolutely thrilled that WU has reconsidered their decision.

  131. Thank you so much for your huge heart, your courage, and for doing amazing work in the world. When we are allowed to marry I will look for a photographer and maybe you’ll be available – we live in Oregon…..

  132. What a great post. I actually just responded to this on my facebook page…..

    I personally would have never done this simply because the ad did not offend me. However I will try to refrain from judging the Weddings Unveiled editors. Their apology is not mine to accept. That is up to Anne and every couple who was denied seeing a reflection of themselves in a magazine because of fear and ignorance.

    Every wedding blogger or vendor who actively supports same-sex marriages risks alienating people who disagree with them. We could lose clients, sponsors and followers. At some point, one has to ask… would you rather lose the business of people who don’t believe everyone should be treated equally, or gain the respect of those who do?

  133. I have but one thing to say to you… I love you. You have the heart of a lion and the soul of an angel. In a world where we vilify love because it doesn’t live up to the societal standards of the most narrow-minded – you took a stand. I understand your disappointment but most respect that you stood up for what was good and decent and right. Love is never wrong and history will show you stood on the side of love. As a woman from the grandma set straight out of the Bible Belt, I want to thank you for choosing a photo of love. The wedding photo of me and my husband gazing deeply into each other’s eyes is exactly the same as the photo you chose. He’s 77 years old and when I showed him your photo, all he said was, “I remember looking at you that way the day we got married.” And then he smiled. And then I remembered why I fell in love with him.

    It’s moments like that when you can be absolutely certain you made the right decision.

  134. This reminds me of a story that boingboing just posted:

    http://www.wnem.com/story/21176341/nurse-sues-hospital-over-alleged-racist-note

    In that situation, a racist man asked that no African American nurses care for his new baby in a hospital. Instead of telling him that this was not a request they could honor, the supervisor took a black nurse off the case and gave it to a white nurse. There is no indication that the supervisor is herself racist; it seems that she thought it would just be easier for everyone all around if they catered to this man’s request.

    This is a similar case of a situation in which personnel at a business made a cowardly decision to act based on client prejudice instead of supporting a worker in the industry. In both cases, the problem isn’t what we’ve seen so much with wedding venues and cake bakers who believe that same sex marriage is immoral – who are themselves prejudiced. It’s more insidious – the desire not to rock the boat, to pretend that taking an action is a more political decision than passively trying to avoid confrontation.

    The big difference is that the hospital case involves race, so it makes even more obvious how absurdly and shockingly retrograde it is to bow to those kinds of views.

  135. For what it’s worth, I think you could have chosen a better photograph for non-political reasons. I don’t mean this harshly. I’ve been a guest at gay weddings, so that’s not my issue. But void of context, I had no idea that couple was in a warehouse, sitting on bags of coffee beans, etc. It’s a confusing image (to me; I understand that others love this photo). I just think you should reconsider the image, even if you pick a photo of another same-sex couple. For context (and a grain of salt that is probably warranted) I say this as a fellow photographer who doesn’t know you or your work.

    On the broader topic, kudos to you for standing up to the magazine. I’m glad it sounds like they’ve learned a lesson, and it will all work out in the end.

  136. For shame. It’s always interesting and disheartening to know that so many of the publications that we follow and admire prefer to hang their hats on the principles of quantity ($$$$$) over quality. I curse the day that I ever let an ambition for financial gain trump the art of my craft and my willingness to spread the visual joy of documenting love.

  137. Beautiful lesson in the power we all have as individuals. Thank you for being a person of integrity. I trust Karma will bless your business with endless opportunities to photograph weddings for as long as you wish.

  138. Thank you. Thank you for being bold enough to offer a same-sex marriage photograph as if it were unremarkabe; thank you for sticking to your guns when the publishers challenged you on it; thank you for publishing their sincere apology, and thank you *all* for making the world a better place one photograph at a time.

  139. I’m Irish. Many people don’t know that the Irish were included with the Native Americans and the Negroes in the divisive marriage laws – we were considered subhuman and thus not fit to marry (it was in fact considered bestiality to have a relationship with us.)

    Today the exact same arguments against interracial marriage are trotted out against those of us who dare to love someone of the same gender. We are slowly winning the battle, but at times it seems too slowly. Thanks Anne for simply seeing two people in love, and I am glad the owners of the publication shifted their stance on publishing your ad.

    Usually when there is a flip-flop in reaction to outrage I sneer a little and feel in my heart that money is the only reason for the “change of heart” but I think in this case the publishers are genuinely sorry for making the wrong move initially and are sincere in their apology.

  140. I just read this and it made me both angry and sad. I am so proud that you stood up for what you believe in and I am appalled at how that magazine reacted with such fear. Thank you for following your heart and for defending love.

  141. Anne: You’re awesome.

    To everyone trying to derail this by criticizing the photograph on its artistic merits: Be quiet, focus, stay on topic. You’re obviously bad at understanding art from any viewpoint but your own, which more simply put means: ‘You are bad at understanding art’.

  142. A lovely photo and a lovely outcome. Good for you! And good for the publishers, ultimately. This is a wonderful example of how evil happens when the good people say and do nothing. Instead, you inspired two others, the publishers, to follow their hearts, too.

    Rebecca Smith

  143. Hello Anne,

    First, your photography is lovely. I think that has been a little lost in the greater social issue discussion! Second, your handling of the situation in your simple argument, compassionate response and articulate expression is one of the better approaches to the process of social change that I have seen. The way you speak of your personal response to the situation rather than railing against them as the internet has trained so many to do is a breath of fresh air. I am also pleased to see you published their response, and responded in kind in a way that allows both you and WU to move forward. I think it’s important to allow everyone to grow and change in their feelings and responses as we grow as a community and a culture. They are not a giant corporation putting out a standard “apology” press release, they are a small business who clearly reacted out of fear for the future of their small business, not out of anger and hate. It seems your eloquent response and the impassioned response of the public has brought them to a new place. I think the proof will be in the publishing pudding so to speak, but thank you – for not responding to the possibility of their change of heart with the judgment and vitriol that so many have across the blogosphere. One of the most important parts of affecting change is actually allowing those in the wrong to change – and embracing them when they do. As a gay man who looks forward to having a wedding some day – not a gay wedding – just a plain old cheesy, giant family party affair – with a dude standing next to me – thank you for standing for what is right whether it is easy or not. And may your own business grow both for what you choose to stand for, and for the fantastic photos you take to allow any couple to remember their special day always!

  144. That’s awesome! Thanks for having the courage not to cave & to stand up for what’s right. I hope you get a ton of business as a result!

  145. I want to thank you, and all of the like-minded and courageous people confronting and ultimately chipping away at the bigotry faced by gays and all facing discrimination. My thanks are given on behalf of the those kids I teach in middle school who haven’t even begun to figure out how or why they’re “different,” but are already feeling the effects in a very real way. Your courage will make their lives easier. Yes, “It gets better,” but only because of people such as yourself and your supporters.

    • What of polygamists? Are they not also descriminated against?

  146. Great job in both instances Anne! Way to stand your ground and be a voice for the wedding industry in general. Kudos to you.

  147. Good for you, and good for them. But especially good for you; you first broached the topic through your actions, then respectfully dealt with their response. You gave them the opportunity to do better, and they did.

  148. So happy this was resolved! Props to Weddings Unveiled for explaining and apologising instead of trying to justify your actions. FWIW, I do see where you were coming from, because when you’re running a business you do have to be careful of offending people that might be keeping your business afloat. However, I’m glad you went with your hearts, and hopefully doing so will garner you a whole set of new clients and fans who wouldn’t be offended at the sight of two girls in love. (When you think about it, what a stupid thing to be offended by!)

  149. Wow I love this story, well done to you. You are absolutely right and this is proof of how positive change can happen if we are all brave enough to stand up for what is right and what is fair.

    And it is a beautiful photo. Seeing that in a wedding magazine would make me smile.

    :-)

  150. i do not believe that WU apology is sincere. They just are scared from peoples responses. And NOW they offer Anne run ad? They have to offer to run that ad for FREE. Can not stand two face and snobby people.

  151. I am the publisher of a wedding magazine franchise in central Florida. I am so bored with the traditional photos submitted by our advertisers, especially photographers. Anne, I would be honored to publish your ad here. Photography is like anything else in that it can fall into a rut. For someone to come along and break out of the mold is a wonderful thing. That the U.S. Supreme Court is even taking up the issue of same sex marriage (actually better referred to as marriage equality) is an abomination of its own. We are not a civilized society until we have full equality. Thank you for pushing back.

    • I completely agree. In addition, if are out there championing lesbian and homosexual marriage, why are they not also supporting polygamist marriage?

  152. When will you will do a photo of a polygamous family? With the outpouring of support for love and “marriage of any flavor” shown here and many other places, it always amazes me to see the same support is missing for those who choose a polygamous lifestyle. All the arguments made here for gay marriage, can be equally applied in support of polygamy.

    “Right”
    “fair”
    “love is love”
    “not a polygamist wedding, but a wedding”
    “Happily the 11-13 year olds in my group are always pretty shocked by blatant polyga-phobia… most of them have gay, lesbian, bisexual, polygamous and trans folks in their families or communities and they don’t go to polygamous weddings either.. just weddings”
    “I’m not trying to advertise to ‘the polygamist community’… I’m advertising to couples who are getting married”
    “Not hate. Not discrimination. Not judgment. Love. Love, period.”
    “someday we’ll look back on the conversation about polygamist marriage and wonder why it was ever a controversial issue”

    • Talon, I completely agree. If people are out there championing lesbian and homosexual marriage, why are they not also supporting polygamist marriage?

    • Well, why not? I have no issue with poly relationships. People like you throw that out there to discredit same-sex relationships and it never works. Same-sex relationships are more comparable to opposite-sex relationships than poly relationships, for obvious reasons. The question is, why not allow same-sex couples get married while opposite-sex couples are allowed to? And the fact you had to deflect to polygamy proves there is no answer to that question.

      • Lighten up, Francis.

        “People like you” ? Really? That’s your come back? You assume that I’m trying to discredit same-sex relationships, rather than assuming I’m trying to garner support for yet another lifestyle choice made by consenting adults? What does that say about YOU?

        Are you tolerant of anything that fits your definition of acceptability, but intolerant of anything outside your box?

        “The fact” that I “deflected” to polygamy “proves there is no answer”? Rather, I believe “the fact” that you “deflected” a legitimate question to bash me, knowing nothing about me, “proves” you have no answer to why polygamy isn’t accepted. If you have no issue with poly relationships, then lose the attitude toward me, since you know nothing about me.

  153. I am so happy for you! I’m glad that you pushed what you truly believe in and that is inspiring to me. I want to thank you for sharing this information with all of us. I do believe equality is needed for everyone and love is love.

    I hope for success for this campaign ad. I know their probably haters out there, but time needs to change. I actually want to buy this magazine when it does come out. Its a part of history! Good work. Keep it up!

  154. Anne: I’m writing not to comment on the magazine’s decision (which was reprehensible) nor on their 180 and apology (which I thought was less a change of heart than a revision of their market analysis) … I’m writing to praise YOUR writing. Your post is lyrical, hearfelt, and perfectly nuanced. It’s one of the most elegeant pieces on the topic of marriage equality I’ve ever seen — and I’ve seen a ton of it. After I read the post for content a couple of times, I made a cup of tea sat down to re-read it slowly just to enjoy the writing. Bravo, you. And thank you for your art.

    • Kate, I completely agree. I did the same, except with my coffee!

  155. A good resolution to this story. I’m glad that Terri and Brooke took the time to reconsider. I can understand being afraid for your business and wanting to protect it. And they do so knowing that they will probably lose advertisers and subscribers. I hope that there is an outpouring of support for them which more than makes up for it.

    You’d think people could enjoy beautiful representations of love. I run a dance company and we posted Valentine’s ecards on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151442199603891.480098.151181413890&type=1

    People loved them but I got some hate mail about the photos of 2 male or 2 female dancers. My response was this:
    I have only this to say: Love is for everyone. We reject this hate. There is no place for it in the Invertigo world.

    So support the people who make the choice to make that stand. Congrats to Anne for inspiring Terri and Brooke to do so.

    With love and respect,
    Laura

  156. Oh wish there were a spell checker here! Elegant, not elegeant. [exit shamefaced ;)]

  157. To be honest this post made me feel anger. Well, at first I felt just normal. I think Anne had every right to choose that shot, I really liked it. Like she said, it didn’t even seem like a lesbian picture, just a nicely framed picture of two people who were feeling love for eachother.
    Then as I read on I felt that that the same acceptance she was seeking from WU, she herself was not able to dish out. I think her attitude was hypocritical.
    WU’s initial decision was what they felt was “right” for their magazine, I don’t think it is fair of Anne to judge them for that! When Anne included that quote of being right it made me feel angry that she couldn’t accept that some people just don’t agree. Not agreeing is fine, healthy even. Don’t get mad at someone just because they don’t agree with you POV though.
    That’s nice that they decided to change their minds for whatever reason.
    I sometimes feel that these people who are thinking they are so ‘accepting’ and ‘open minded’ actually aren’t. They are judging the other side of the fence just as harshly.
    Anyway there is my point of view and rant for the day.

    • Thank you! I felt the same way! Every magazine has right to have its own market, target audience, taste and so on, it’s just a business strategy.
      >I sometimes feel that these people who are thinking they are so ‘accepting’ and ‘open minded’ actually aren’t. They are judging the other side of the fence just as harshly.
      I agree, indeed.

    • Well, is being anti-gay a two-way street? A lot of people don’t think so.

    • Beatrix, so based on your logic here, I suppose there is an argument that people were just “intolerant” of Hitler for his strong personal conviction to eradicate the Jewish race?

      Or perhaps Rosa Parks was just being “intolerant” of the rules of the bus when she refused to sit in the back?

      I could even say you’re intolerant of Anne’s response and we can just keep ping-ponging this damn thing back and forth, forever.

      Anne called this magazine out for NOT taking a stand. They indicated in so many words that their personal beliefs were not such that gay couples shouldn’t get married but they felt it would cause too much friction to allow the add at this particular time.

      If Weddings Unveiled had stated that they didn’t want to publish the ad based on their strong political or religious beliefs I get the impression she would’ve respected that and we wouldn’t be having this conversation at all. The point is, they didn’t have a stance.

  158. It’s a great thing you did pushing this magazine to desegregate and you should be proud.

    But, I’m sorry, contrary what some of the commenters have posted, you are not brave. No one was brave in this episode. The magazine publishers would have been brave if they had published your ad straight off and faced the consequences from other advertisers and subscribers instead of being cowards and sweeping it under the rug.

    Who is being brave, at least a little, is the couple in the photograph who have to live through all the prejudice alluded to firsthand. And I’m a little tiny bit uncomfortable that, even though you certainly didn’t intend to, your business is riding a wave of free publicity off their bravery, and some other businesses/politicians might try to do that deliberately in the future. On the other hand, you’ve certainly earned the publicity with what you’ve done and your great post. I hope you continue activism in whatever cause your heart takes you to since you have an obvious gift.

  159. Taking a photo, publishing a photo or viewing a photo is not the same as condoning — or not condoning — the subject of a photo. Images have served to create great change in the world. And the most provocative images often have the power to create the most change. Think back to 100 years ago, and you will likely find that we disagree with many of the opinions of that time.

    I am often reminded of a photo wherein an African-American man held up a sign that said, “I am a man.” I first saw it when I was about 11 years old, and I have never forgotten it. It has shaped much of the way that I now think. People are people. Let’s respect them as such.

  160. I’m french and I love that photo, so beautiful. The political correctness is absurd and I do not see anything shocking in this photo! Love has no boundaries, color, sex! Keep this freedom of expression! Freedom, equality, fraternity!

  161. Thank you. Not just for standing up for our rights, but also for being responsible enough to share with us the entire story and letting us know that this had a happy resolution.

  162. The picture is beautiful and good for you for standing up for it and showing them that they should do what’s right, not what they think will get the most mainstream.
    Your work is incredible.

  163. Sounds like the magazine was just afraid of losing subscribers, and money. But they came around and realized they were on the wrong side of history. If they do end up running the ad, they probably will lose some subscribers, but I’m sure they will gain others to replace those who had a problem with it. Life is tough enough as it is – if a person finds someone to share their life with and they love each other, then it should be celebrated, period. Kudos to you for standing up for what is right. We need more love in this world.

  164. I’m happy to hear the resolution to this – I hope it’s for the right reasons, but if it was strictly a marketing decision, that’s okay too.

    I am not a wedding industry lover. I managed to get married and have an incredibly fun wedding a few years ago without ever picking up a wedding magazine. But I might have to pick up a copy of this one when they run your ad. Please let folks know when it comes out.

  165. Yeah, but “after 1- years of shooting weddings” you have thousand of other pictures and you chose controversial picture not because “it says joy” but because you knew it’s controversial and you know that in today’s times controversy sells. You are an asshole that’s trying to use controversy to sell more stuff. You are an asshole for cheapening the value of the image and using it to simply make more money. You are an asshole for using this controversy cloaking it behind “i care” label.

    • I’m totally convinced that after your eloquent name calling, Anne will completely change her ways. Or not.

    • wow – you’ll l note that Anne took the High Road the entire time and didn’t stoop to using the language you are, despite how irritated she was. That says a lot about both of you.

    • Pat, you nailed it man! Ace Detective Pat, exposing people’s true motives on the internet since 19XX.

      Give me a break. You can take even a cursory glance at this girls website, blog and overall work see that there isn’t a shred of evidence that supports her as somebody who tries to turn high controversy into personal gain. You see a lot of the photographers these days who are trying to hype themselves up online and sell garbage just to make a buck, I haven’t seen one iota of that stuff on Anne’s website.

      If jumping all over the internet calling people assholes makes you happy, well, enjoy that. I’m sure your friends and family are very proud of you.

  166. Anne,
    Your composure and eloquence in the face of such a trying situation is inspirational. I’m so happy that you were able to clearly state the case and help others come to (what I believe is) the right conclusion.

  167. I’m afraid it’s easiest to leave a comment here about how easy it is to put yourself out there in an angry world. To say how easy it is to expose your heart and your art, to alienate potential clients and vendors, to become the target of bigoted comments and stupidity.

    Way to go, Anne! Way to stand up and take a deep breath and lay it all down for your beliefs, even in the face of something as real and fundamental as livelihood.

    Anne, you make me proud to call you friend. But even if I didn’t know you for the person you are, you make me hopeful. I can see a road ahead of us and it’s a road I want to hunker down and travel with you. It’s a road I’m glad my daughter will travel, because it’s more clear and less hazardous today than it was last Wednesday even, because of you and the lovely ladies at Weddings Unveiled.

    Way to go!

  168. I have mixed feeling about the editors ‘apology’ as it still sounds wrapped in wedding magazine nonsense. What exactly does “These aren’t our personal beliefs, of course, but, you know…” MEAN?! It’s interesting, for as opinionated as these magazines (and wedding blogs) are as to the kind of imagery they choose for editorials (everything looks exactly the same), HERE they are in a position dealing with a PAID ad where the true colors show up. While I think the end result was certainly positive, I still feel these editors took a very lame back-pedal response once confronted.

  169. While most of the comments here are lovely, I am actually appalled at what I read and how Anne handled it. The understanding of love aside, this magazine is running a business. And it’s a small businesses that was built from the ground up by hard work. It is fully within their rights to run their magazine as they see fit. To bully them under the guise of it being an anti gay issue and deliberately (by taking it public) trying to destroy their reputation because they did not go along with what Anne wanted (be whatever it was), just shows the total lack of respect for the magazine’s rights. Weddings Unveiled did not want to use the image. They had their reasonings. To defame them is not standing up to them, or making anything right. Where was the magazine’s voice in this? Where are their rights in this – to publish and to present their magazine as they wish to? Again, I understand Anne’s feelings on this came from the heart, and she can voice her feelings just like the rest of us – but the magazine, their team who work hard to publish it, have their feelings and their voices too – and it needs to be respected just as much as anyone else’s.
    Rights, freedoms and beliefs are there for everyone in the US. If someone doesn’t agree with you on certain issues, it doesn’t make them wrong – like you, they have a right to their thoughts and opinions and should get the same respect you demand for yours. If I was Weddings Unveiled, I would look to take legal action here to protect their rights and also for the slander Anne has does to their magazine. To make this out as an anti gay attack from the magazine is just wrong on so many levels. If anything, it turned out to be an absolute assault on Weddings Unveiled, their rights, and most importantly their freedom of choice. Last time I checked this is the United States. Bullying people to do something they are not ready to do (and maybe never will be – again, their right to choose) or maybe at that time, can’t do, is not the way to conduct yourself.

    • OK ‘JT’ at the risk of pushing buttons – Let’s pretend the magazine said, “OH we’re sorry, it’s not US, but we’d really rather not have a black (or interracial) couple in this ad. Can you pick something more neutral?” Would THAT have been an acceptable editorial decision from your way of thinking? Is that somehow less offensive?

    • I think you’re missing the point here man.

      At the time that all of this happened, the magazine didn’t stand for anything. They told Anne they didn’t want to publish the photo but that it “didn’t reflect their personal beliefs” it just happened to not be the “right time”.

      It can’t be called bullying if all that happened was that the editors of the magazine publicly aligned their stance on this issue with how they felt privately.

    • Yeah, just like Martin Luther King, Jr. bullied the U.S. into a Civil Rights law, bullying Woolworth’s into allowing blacks to sit at the counter, Rosa Parks bullying the bus company into allowing her to ride in the front of the bus, etc. Standing up for what is right is bullying?

      As it turned out, three women finally came together with a new appreciation for one another and resolved their issues to their own satisfaction. Becoming litigious about it is extreme and extremely tiresome.

    • Hi JT,
      I’m not sure how you determined that Anne’s open letter is a form of bullying. No one has suggested even remotely that the magazine wasn’t well within its rights to reject that particular photograph. Of course it was. As a private business it has the right to do just what it did. If the publishers at WU read Ms Almasy’s letter and rethought their initial decision regarding allowing a same-sex couple to be depicted in one of their advertisements, that was their choice and no one forced them to it.
      Expressing an opinion, expressing disappointment at a company or individual, whether it be to a friend or in a blog on the Internet, is not bullying. It’s free speech. If a company or individual were to refuse a service to you for reasons you felt were insufficient or just plain wrong, you may not have been compelled, as Ms Almasy was, to publish your feelings online. I probably wouldn’t have thought to express my frustration so publicly either. We all respond to our emotions and circumstances differently. And if our unique response doesn’t hurt anyone, there’s probably nothing wrong with it.
      That Ms Almasy chose this place to share her feelings hurts no one, not you, not her, not the sanctity of the First Amendment, and ultimately, not even WU, because most of the people who might pick up one of their magazines probably won’t see this blog or ever hear of this story.

  170. You did it Anne, you set the best possible example. You are a star and we ALL thank you, no matter our orientations…

  171. This whole process and story is so baffling to me but yet so common. It happens all the time with race, size and as we can see sexual orientation. I sincerely hope that what you have done, Anne will start to resinate with other publication. But the sad part about it is that it probably won’t and we will just have to push on and keep putting it out there in front of people. The more they see it, the more comfortable they will become about it. I also say to people that if you don’t see individuals in wedding magazines that look like you, do something about; create it, talk about it, bring awareness to it. We aren’t used to seeing Plus Size Brides in wedding magazine, which are sometimes actually real size brides, so I decided to change that and created something to showcase them. This should be an example of where we are heading and how far we need to keep pushing forward. Thanks Anne for getting us ALL one step closer!

  172. I’m glad they chose to change their position, but at the risk of being a sourpuss I’ll say that “we’re sorry we disappointed you” isn’t an apology as I’d recognize one – ie, an admission of being wrong. It’s a “we’re sorry this went over poorly” and change in position. Which, you know, I’ll take – it would be nice if everyone who was a hater or just a chickens*** came around to the side of equality, but barring that I’ll accept them simply shutting up and getting out of the way of progress.

    So if Terri and Brooke can’t say “we were wrong, that was the wrong action, we should have done this in the first place,” then I am disappointed. But it’ll do.

  173. “This letter is my very small plea for compassion and understanding in a changing world.”

    Thank you.

    (more of *this,* please, universe. thanks.)

  174. Dear Anne.
    This past weekend I photographed my first same sex wedding. It was beautiful. Two people madly in love who were so grateful they lived in a country that recognized their human right to marry. Thank you Anne for standing on the right side of history and in your own way shifting the course of history in a positive way with your actions.

  175. Perfect. Wonderful. Amazing.

    A bit over 4 years ago, I stood at the front of a huge room full of people who love me and pledged my love and commitment to the most amazing man I’ve ever met, my soulmate, the person I spent four decades waiting for and intend to spend every remaining decade loving. I did so without the sanction of government or dogma; my husband was unfortunately born with a vagina, so no matter how much of a man he is, our very, very red state doesn’t see it that way.

    There aren’t enough of us to fight this fight on our own. We need allies who will stand up and say:

    No, we will not be quiet.
    No, we will not back down.
    No, we will not support businesses that make decisions based on prejudice, discrimination, and stereotypes.
    No, we will not support or re-elect leaders who care nothing for equality.

  176. I think this was a cheap shot on your part..

    I think they have the right to not publish the ad.. I also think they would have lost a lot of subscribers had they published it.. There seem to be a lot more ppl against same sex marriage than for it..especially being in the south.. And as a business whose goal is to make money, I think they made the right decision.. Had they published it, they would have lost money.. (Their main goal as a business)

    I think you were just looking for your15 minutes of fame, and purposely used a hot button photo in your ad.. You’ve been shooting for 10 years, no doubt reading that magazine for years to want to advertise in there.. And have never seen an ad like that in there.. So I think you KNEW you would get turned down. And planned on using it as a publicity stunt..

    It also was NOT a good photo.. And to all the people saying its a beautiful photo.. Really?? She’s been shooting for 10 years.. Come on.. Especially for a magazine ad.. To be seen by thousands (maybe?) surely if you’ve shot for 10 years you’ve got a better photo than this one.. I’m talking appealing wise.. It’s just a terrible photo.. Not much better than what a guest would take with their point a shoot.. Which also makes me think publicity stunt.. You had a random picture of a gay couple at a wedding, and went for it..

    I guarantee your website traffic has gone through the roof in the last few days.. Great business move for you.. But I think it was a dirty trick ethically..

    This ad is only going to appeal to the LGBT community.. Anyone else will be turned off by the ad, and her as a photographer.. So I’m sad to say it, but because of our closed minded society, an ad like this (though with a better photo) belongs in a magazine that targets the LGBT community.

    But you did what you planned.. Look at all those comments.. And tat didn’t cost you a penny.. And other sites are talking about you too.. Sadly this publicity isn’t getting you business.. Just traffic to your site.. Probably should have taken up some google Adsense before you did this, because it’s mostly photographers who are talking about you.. Though they are talking about what you did, and many of them are saying you are looking for your 15 minutes of fame.. And others are talking about how bad the photo is.. So that’s not going to get you any business…

    Good luck with the ethics though…

    • Chris, you should start over. Read the entire letter from the photographer, then the response from WU. Good try, though!

    • I find it quite unprofessional that a “photographer” like you would trash another photographer for her artistry. There have been other photographers on this blog praising Anne for making inroads into this civil rights, hot-button topic, then others, like you, who only want to heap harsh criticism on her work. You, sir, are a bully and unworthy of your profession.

      If you actually read the letter and apology and response, you’ll see that the photographer and magazine worked out their differences to each others satisfaction. They are both happy.

      You, on the other hand, are just sad.

    • Chris, I can totally see how this insidious master plan works – Obviously Step 1 is to target a group of people who are disenfranchised and seek rejection on their behalf.

      I think I know what happens next – Through lots of blog comments and web traffic her business explodes, she suddenly becomes rich and famous and people are coming out of the woodwork to hire her for gay photography!!! The plan is so genius, it’s easy to see why she fooled everyone!

      No… You’re a rank-and-file troll Chris. You have no basis or real argument for your accusations. I looked for the other gay weddings on her site, there is just the one. I looked for Google AdSense ads, the ones that pay for click-throughs and site hits, she doesn’t have any. So what the hell kind of business maneuver is she working here?

      I’d also like to point out that I am not gay and I live in the south, I’m not turned off by this ad [or the LGBT community for that matter] so your claim that it only appeals to one group and disgusts everyone else is empty. Lots of people who aren’t gay support the LGBT community.

      But ya know, keep on keeping it real up there in Canada man, they need guys like you holding down the fort of goodness, truth and integrity.

  177. Good for you!! I got goose bumps reading this.. I am so glad you posted this letter. It took a lot of courage and I hope that more publications take a clue from this and put their walls down to accept everyone.

  178. No Tom, I’m good with what I wrote.. Reason being.. Check her portfolio page. If gay couples say so much about her as a photographer, why does she not have even ONE photo (including the ad image) of a gay couple in her portfolio.. If its so important to her, I’d think she’d be proud to display her gay weddings in her portfolio along side all her other weddings?? …. Sensationalism…

    • Again, read her letter. She says that she doesn’t photograph “gay weddings”, she photographs people. Her portfolio is quite lovely, by the way, as is yours. You each have a style; it’s YOUR style, and it’s HER style, and you both have a place in the business. Her issue was simply that the magazine did not want to place her advertisement for the sole reason the subject is LGBT. She got on her soapbox about it and got the resolution that she wanted. I hope it works out very well for both parties.

      • I just don’t get why she would try and publish a gay wedding photo, in a state where gay marriage is still illegal, in a magazine that has never published such a photo.. She knew what she was doing.. To deny that is to be naive..

        I agree her photos are great.. I looked through her portfolio, fantastic pics.. Many great shots that could advertise her company (and thanks for your comments on my pics btw).. So if she has so many great shots, why use a terrible photo, if its not to stir the pot and get press (which as I said, is working well.. Though its not going to stir up much business, as its mostly photogs and activists commenting..

        • Well, gay marriage is not ILLegal, in the sense that people are breaking the law; it’s just not recognized as legally binding. Be that as it may, the whole thing sure stirred up a hornet’s nest. I also live in Georgia, and believe me, there is a huge LGBT community here that stands ready to receive what it believes are their civil rights, and they have a lot of supporters in the straight community. Anne seems to be one of those progressive civil rights-type of people who won’t stand by and allow injustice (or her perception of it) to go unaddressed, which was the case here.

  179. I did read a lot of the comments, but because there are so many please excuse me if I missed this bit but have you asked the actual couple in question what their thoughts/views are on all this?
    As gay or not I know a lot of couples that would like and also dislike this amount of attention on them for a day that can be very private.

    As a note, I think the other black and white shot of them not kissing directly after the kissing one is more flattering of the couple. Also I think its sexier and more of an image that other couples would want since a mid kiss whatever the sexual preference, can not be the most flattering of things :)
    I also think the one with the flaming coffee cup is really cool and would of got more attention as an advert with the colors.
    I do think you sell yourself very well on your website, but agree you were a bit naive with your positioning of this advert on how effective you thought it would be to the readers of this specific magazine. You are very creative and the images from the specific wedding would be great featured on one of the many blogs that would surely of got you more potential work than the one magazine advert?

  180. Thank you for your blog & pictures. The pictures are wonderfully warm, sensitive and kind and the love of the couples is very tangible. Keep up the good work and ignore the haters and those who profess to be “christian”. The God I know doesn’t see us through our life style, but through His unconditional love for His creations! Our chosen life style does not in any way negate that love and I am so glad it is always available to all of us!

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