This post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Kathryn Hamm, Publisher of GayWeddings.com, the leading online resource dedicated to serving same-sex couples since 1999. Kathryn is also co-author of the groundbreaking book, The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography. Follow her on Twitter @madebykathryn.
The latest headlines surrounding gay marriage of late have centered upon the notion of religious liberty and freedom of speech. In sum, there are a minority of wedding professionals who say that they should not be compelled to accept same-sex couples as clients because of their personal (and/or religious) beliefs. And that opposition, as expressed by a handful of wedding professionals who are turning down same-sex couples and facing media and/or a legal backlash), is occupying most of our news feeds.
Interestingly, a recent survey by the AP-GfK reported by US News & World Report found that more Americans favor marriage equality than oppose it, but “roughly half” of their respondents felt that “wedding professionals should be allowed to deny service to same-sex couples for religious reasons.” It’s an attitude that, quite frankly, is not surprising in light of the spirit of the founding of our country around the notion of religious liberty. The question I wished that the poll had as follow up is: “Even though you think that a business should be allowed to deny service based on your religious beliefs, would you prefer that those professionals would “do the right thing” and not discriminate?”
I think it’s also worth pointing out another survey that has gotten less play, but offers an intriguing context and perspective. In the fall of 2014, the Pew Research Center released it’s finding that 42% of African-Americans surveyed reported that they support same-sex marriage; a lower number than Caucasians surveyed (53%). But, when asked if “wedding-related businesses should be required to serve same-sex couples,” a majority of African Americans (61%) said that wedding-related businesses should be required to serve same-sex couples (only 45% of Caucasians surveyed said similarly).