A Christian couple in California have announced they will no longer shoot wedding photography after gay activists protested against the business, saying they denied service to a homosexual couple for their wedding.
Nang and Chris Mai, the owners of the Bay Area-based Urloved Photography, made the decision after LGBT activists harassed them for referring a gay couple seeking their service to another photographer instead of shooting the wedding themselves.
"We have come to a difficult decision that we will no longer be in the wedding photography business," the couple announced on their company's website earlier in November.
"We are grateful for this experience as it has caused us to think about how our personal beliefs intersect with our business practices."
The Mais also added in a statement on their Facebook page that they don't want to sacrifice their personal beliefs against same-sex weddings in order to abide by California's business discrimination laws.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, T.J. Kelsall of San Francisco posted a comment on the company's Facebook page earlier this month stating that Urloved Photography had refused to photograph him and his partner, Thai Lam.
"Great shots, but this company denied me and my fiance, a same-sex couple, from their services," Kelsall wrote on Facebook. "Stand up and say something about it."
Following Kelsall's complaint, the Mais were "flooded with hate calls, emails and accusations that inaccurately depict our business."
But Kelsall didn't stop there, writing a second post asking friends to stop contacting the Urloved Photography and writing negative reviews and comments on their various online pages.
"This company discriminates against gay couples and won't photograph them. Please stand with them and denounce this company," wrote one commenter on the Urloved Facebook page.
"I'm gonna be sick from all the bigotry by the photographer," wrote another.
In response, the Urloved Photography website statement explained that the Mais felt that referring Kelsall and Lam to another qualified photographer would have resulted in the couple being happier with their photography service, as "photographing a gay wedding is not the best match for us."
"Unfortunately, our artistic passion for excellence and personal beliefs were misinterpreted. That was never our intent," the statement says. "It is not photographing a couple who have different personal beliefs that we have difficulty with. We genuinely felt referring this couple to a photographer who does share their personal beliefs would provide them with the best service for their special day. We wanted to connect them with someone who did share their personal beliefs so that they could give them the service quality they deserve."
After the couple's announcement, Kelsall said he and his partner respected their decision to stop doing wedding photography and asked gay activists and their supporters to stop posting to Urloved Photography social media and Internet accounts.
"They acknowledged that if this were pursued any further it wouldn't fair [sic] well for Urloved Photography," Kelsall wrote. "They understand the law and told us they have decided that in light of their personal beliefs they will be shutting down their business."
"[We] consider this issue resolved and would urge you to stop posting on their FB page, Yelp, and any other social media site," the Facebook post states. "Our friends, family, and the LGBT community/allies have all been amazingly supportive and active in helping to bring this matter to light. We must respect that Nang and Chris have decided to shut down their business because of their beliefs. I wish the outcome could have been different but it is what it is."