The Wedding-Planning Discrimination Issue We Hardly Ever Discuss

Photographed by Megan Madden.
Most of us have a reasonable expectation that when we offer to pay a business money in exchange for goods or services, the business won't turn us away.
Similarly, straight couples who are in the middle of planning their weddings hardly ever have to worry about a florist, cake baker, or photographer saying no.
But LGBTQ couples do. According to a recently released study by The Knot and Q.Digital, 30% of female and 11% of male same-sex couples reported having been turned away or "left feeling uncomfortable due to their LGBTQ identity" by wedding vendors.
"Ultimately, I've found there to be a real lack of education and conversation in our industry around marketing to LGBTQ couples," says Anja Winikka, director of education and industry innovation at The Knot. "Wedding pros want to plan LGBTQ weddings, but they don't know how to market themselves, let alone not alienate couples by doing business as usual."
Just this week, the Supreme Court has agreed to take on the case of a Denver cake baker who may have unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to create a wedding cake for their reception. Jack Phillips, the owner of a cake shop, says his religious beliefs prohibit him from making a cake for a same-sex marriage and that the First Amendment protects him.
This isn't the first such case. In 2014, the Supreme Court declined to revisit a decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court that found a wedding photographer in violation of a state civil rights law for refusing to photograph a lesbian couple's commitment ceremony, according to The Washington Post.
Earlier this year, the Washington Supreme Court found that Barronelle Stutzman, who owns Arlene's Flowers in Richland, WA, violated a state anti-discrimination law when she declined to provide flowers for the wedding of a gay couple on the grounds of her Christian faith.
Stutzman had apparently known the gay couple for years and sold them flowers at other times. In its decision on the case, reports The New York Times, the court wrote that the case "is no more about access to flowers than civil rights cases in the 1960s were about access to sandwiches." Anti-discrimination laws, the court wrote, "serve a broader societal purpose: eradicating barriers to the equal treatment of all citizens."

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