Dig Baton Rouge

Celebration, not discrimination

By Nick BeJeaux

 

Louisiana couples planning their weddings around the Supreme Court’s decision on the state’s same-sex marriage ban are getting a leg up from Capital City Alliance, who published a comprehensive LGBT-friendly wedding catalogue during Pride Fest 2015.

The catalog lists 108 vendors and businesses including venues, photographers, caterers, planners, florists, bakeries, musicians, and even officiants. According to the “Welcome” section attributed to CCA President Kayla Mulford and Board Chair Jena Ourso, even if marriage equality becomes the law of the land, it will remain technically legal to discriminate against others based on sexual orientation. By having a list of vendors and business that have committed to fairness, CCA hopes to have eliminated that risk.

“When marriage equality comes to Louisiana, we want our community to be able to celebrate without worrying that their love will denied by their wedding vendors,” it states.

The Shaw Center, specifically the fourth floor River Terrace, has been a popular spot for wedding and receptions since it opened its doors, even for same-sex weddings. Operations Manager Lindsey Wandell said that the Center jumped at the chance to remind the community it is there to serve everyone.

“Being part of the Shaw Center, an arts and entertainment staple to downtown, we want to make sure all members of our community feel welcome…especially with all the changes to the laws that will affect the LGBT community,” said Lindsey Wandell.  “We are very proud to say we’ve already hosted many same-sex weddings, and wanted to make sure people are aware that we will continue to do so.”

Brian Pavlich is a photographer and owner of Pavlich Photo, and he believes signing up his business for the catalog was the right decision in more ways than one.

“For me it’s practical and pragmatic, but I also get to take a stand for social justice,” he said.

Pavlich also said that the argument that business owners have the right to discriminate on the basis of a client’s sexual orientation or gender identity just doesn’t add up to him.

“I remember when that all started in Utah, Texas, or Wyoming over a cake or something; I went on social media and said something to the effect of, ‘Please send me all of your gay weddings, I’ll take them!’” he said. “I was being tongue and cheek with it, but come on, how silly can you be? People who feel the need to do that have some sort of hatred in their hearts, and I can’t help but to pity them sometimes. But at the end of the day, if you want to cut into your profits, that’s your business.”

 

 

 

 

Larry Fremin runs Four Seasons Florist with his partner of 15 years, Hal Holloway. Though Fremin says he and Holloway have no plans to tie the knot, joining this list of inclusive businesses is the right thing to do.

“We’ll sell flowers to anyone. We don’t discriminate against anyone for anything,” he said. “It just surprises me. I’m 69 years old—I have no desire to have a ‘gay marriage’ or anything like that, but I can understand why a younger person would want that for their own security. I’m happy to see it happen, but the biggest thing is that discrimination against anyone for anything is wrong.”

As a Christian, Fremin takes issue with the logic that sincerely held religious beliefs excuse discrimination.

“I’m a very religious man, I’m a Christian,” he said. “However, I believe that our religion is between us and God. We determine for ourselves what is right and what is wrong; we cannot do that for others.”

The catalog in its entirety can be viewed under the Inclusive Wedding Vendors link at ccabatonrouge.com. Contact CCA for more information.

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