Weddings Unveiled, a magazine which touts itself as "inspiring style for Southern weddings," has publicly apologized for its initial decision to reject an ad from an Atlanta-based photographer because the image featured a lesbian couple.
Anne Almasy was excited to run her first-ever print advertisement, and carefully selected the image to include in the ad below, writing on her blog that she "wanted to publish a photo that says something about me as a photographer; about my philosophy; about my heart for photographing these momentous (and often wonderfully ridiculous) celebrations… I chose this picture because, to me, it says love. It says home. It says joy."
Here's the ad, which was initially rejected by Weddings Unveiled, after a WU editor called Almasy and said "we just don't feel comfortable publishing an ad featuring a same-sex couple. These aren't our personal beliefs, of course, but, you know…"
Almsay was shocked by the decision, and wrote an open letter to the publication calling them out for giving in to fear.
"I don't shoot gay weddings or straight weddings," wrote Almasy in her response. "Christian weddings or Jewish weddings, good weddings or bad weddings. I photograph PEOPLE on their wedding day… My heart breaks because you could not see that this couple's wedding portrait is every bit as beautiful and valuable as any other couple's. My heart breaks because you could not see beyond the fear, and into the warmer, brighter future that WE are responsible for building."
In response an outpouring of support for the photographer's inclusive ad — and the gorgeous, clearly loving couple featured —WU actually reversed its decision, and issued a sincere-sounding apology for ignoring their gut instinct.
"We are incredibly sad that same-sex marriage is still an issue in our society," wrote publishers Terri and Brooke on the WU blog. "When we were faced with the decision of whether or not to publish Anne Almasy's advertisement, we acted in a manner that does not reflect our personal beliefs. We truly believe that all love is beautiful and that all people have the right to marry. You might ask that if we feel that way, then why did we make this decision? Honestly, we knew that everyone would not share our belief that all people have the right to marry. The issue is very sensitive and it is also very divided. We knew that it was possible that people would be offended if we published the ad and we knew that it was possible that people would be offended if we did not. We are so sorry that we acted out of fear and uncertainty. We had never been faced with such a decision and we should have acted with our hearts."
"We are so sorry that we have disappointed you and we ask for your forgiveness," conclude the publishers. "If Anne would still like to run her ad in Weddings Unveiled, then we would be proud to publish it."
Almasy said she was "stunned, humbled, and honored" by the publishers' response and reconsideration. "I hope you have recognized the vast community of support you will have for championing what is right and true," wrote Almasy in her final response, posted on her blog. "I will gladly stand with you in this fight for equality, and would be thrilled to move forward with this ad in Weddings Unveiled."