Kelly Roberts and Mallory Arthur, both 26-year-old residents of Woodstock, Ontario, have been trying to plan their wedding. They got engaged back in January, just a couple of months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit North America in a big way.
Although they're not planning to marry until next year, with so many weddings being pushed back, they decided to dive in headfirst into planning and booking vendors to make sure they are able to have the wedding of their dreams. But one videography company, Caramount Pictures, told them bluntly that they could not be part of their wedding because they are a same-sex couple.
Kelly posted this email response from Caramount on her Facebook page. "I say this with much care, because I know that your union is incredibly important to you, but we do not film homosexual weddings," it reads.
In the accompanying caption on this post, Kelly writes, "So yeah, any videography suggestions in the Woodstock/London/Brantford area? This is the second time this has happened in our wedding planning."
Speaking with The Star, Kelly said, "The fact that she didn't even try to mask her homophobia ... in writing — I think that was the shocking part." Mallory added, "The fact that she didn't even try to mask it just shows that it's such a normal thought for her to have."
Caramount Pictures' policy appears to go against the Ontario Human Rights Code, which states that "every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods, and facilities, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, color, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, or disability."
Meanwhile, The Ontario Human Rights Code states that “every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination because of” several identities, including sexual orientation.https://t.co/8Nd1amh2Gd via @torontostar— angelyn francis (@angelynsayshi) July 21, 2020
As Kelly's post picked up steam, she and Mallory got many messages of support and love from people who shared their anger and frustration. They got plenty of recommendations for videographers who would love to film their wedding, and they were able to book someone very quickly.
But this wasn't the first time the couple experienced discrimination during the wedding planning process. Kelly said that they reached out to an officiant that they found who was based in London, Ontario. She said, "Once Mallory sat down beside me for the meeting, he realized that we're a gay couple." He told them he "wouldn't be able to support their wedding due to his religious beliefs."
"Since we had that experience, especially," Kelly said, "when I reach out to someone I try to make it clear that it's two brides marrying each other because it was such a bad taste in my mouth before. The fact that I need to out myself in a way to every single vendor that I reach out to, just because I don't want to face this problem, it's sad."
Now, because of all the support and feedback Kelly and Mallory have received from their Facebook post, they are hoping to compile a list of LGBTQ+-owned and/or supportive businesses in their area so other couples don't have to go through what they went through.
As for Caramount Pictures, which is run by Cara and Ian Hamstra...Well, their company profiles on several social media platforms have been flooded with bad reviews. You can no longer even access their Facebook page or their website.
Kelly and Mallory have returned to wedding planning. Their date is set for October 2021, and every vendor there will be over the moon to participate in their big day.