A wedding videographer is facing claims of discrimination after its owner refused to take a booking from a same-sex couple.
Canadian couple Mallory Arthur and Kelly Roberts are planning their wedding for October 2021.
But the two 26-year-olds from Woodstock, Ontario had a disappointment when they approached a videographer in nearby Brantford.
Cara Hamstra, who owns Caramount Pictures, wrote to them in an email:
‘I say this with much care, because I know your union is incredibly important to you, but we do not film homosexual weddings.’
The refusal came on Monday. Coincidentally that day (20 July) marked the 15th anniversary of Canada legalizing same-sex marriage in 2005.
Now Caramount Pictures’ website and business page on Facebook, as well as Hamstra’s personal Facebook page, have disappeared from the internet.
‘Outpouring of support’
Meanwhile Hamstra’s decision has sparked anger on social media. Moreover, it also appears to violate Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
The code states ‘every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities’. The list of identities the anti-discrimination legislation protects specifically includes sexual orientation.
Sadly, the couple faced another disappointment in February. They approached a wedding officiant. But while he agreed to meet them in a doughnut shop, he told them he wouldn’t conduct their wedding.
In that case, he didn’t breach the Ontario code, because it includes an exemption for religious officials.
Roberts said: ‘He said that his beliefs don’t support our marriage, and he would be shunned by the church if he married us.’
Despite the problems, the couple have mostly found wedding planning a positive experience.
Moreover, the community has rallied round, messaging their support and sharing details of supportive wedding videographers.
Roberts wrote on Facebook:
‘Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out to us in the last 24 hours. The outpouring of support from everyone has been overwhelming in the most beautiful way.’
They are now hoping to compile a list of businesses that have LGBT+ people or allies as owners, to help other couples.