- Australian wedding magazine White shut its doors following a backlash for refusing to feature same-sex couples in its spreads.
- The founders issued a statement explaining that it was “no longer economically viable” after advertisers began pulling out of the publication over its beliefs.
- They said the company took a silent stance as Australia debated and ultimately legalised same-sex marriage in December.
- Several of White Magazine’s former photographers, some of whom are same-sex attracted, raised the alarm about the publication’s practices.
- “It seems they’re able to differentiate a photographer from their work, as long as a heterosexual couple ends up on their pages,” a former photographer for the magazine wrote on Twitter.
A top Australian wedding magazine was forced to shut its doors after it received backlash for refusing to feature same-sex couples in its spread.
On Saturday, White Magazine’s founders issued a statement explaining that it was “no longer economically viable,” after advertisers began pulling out of the publication due to the backlash the company recieved over its exclusion of LGBTQI+ weddings.
According to the magazine’s statement, the company took a silent stance as Australia debated and ultimately legalised same-sex marriage in December 2017. After being questioned about representation of same-sex couples in the magazine, they said their publication received “a flood of judgment,” and claimed that the magazine, its advertisers, and even couples featured had “been the subject of online abuse despite their individual beliefs.”
“Instead of allowing us the space to work through our thoughts and feelings, or being willing to engage in brave conversations to really hear each other’s stories, some have just blindly demanded that we pick a side,” founders Luke and Carla Burrell wrote. “We’re not about sides, we’re about love, patience and kindness.”
The founders wrote that while the publication was secular, they as publishers are Christian.
Several of White Magazine’s former photographers raised the alarm to the publication’s practices. Melbourne-based photographer Tanya Volt, who identifies as queer, says the company has published some of her work in the past, but they refused to comment when pressed to take a stance on the issue.
“It seems they’re able to differentiate a photographer from their work, as long as a heterosexual couple ends up on their pages,” she wrote on Twitter.
— Tanya Voltchanskaya (@tanyavolt) August 30, 2018
Queer photographer Lara Hotz, whose photos have been featured on the magazine’s cover in the past, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the company’s policy is discriminatory.
“It appears they are happy to take money, content and photographs from LGBTQI advertisers and contributors, but are yet to support and represent us in the same way as heterosexual couples are represented in the magazine,” Hotz said.
White’s Facebook and Instagram accounts were flooded with comments calling the magazine “bigoted” and “ignorant”.
Commenters reacted to the company’s announcement of its closure:
White Magazine is closing its doors.
The Christian couple behind the publication, although claiming it to be a secular publication, was NOT willing to show a single LGBTQI wedding image, that they'd rather shut the doors, as advertisers fled.
— Just Bill (@Q2Driver) November 17, 2018
“Good riddance,” someone posted on Twitter.
“Love is love. And as a business you should have been able to put your personal religious beliefs aside,” another wrote on Facebook under the magazine’s farewell message.
Some, however, praised the company’s stance and lauded its legacy.
“I’m sorry to hear this but am so thankful and grateful for all that you have offered to married couples over the past 12 years,” one commenter wrote on Facebook.
“Have always loved the depth & beauty that White brought to the wedding space,” wrote another.
Similar cases of businesses taking a stance on same-sex marriage have popped up around the world. In one of the most highly publicized cases in Colorado, a Christian baker refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple. The case was taken to the Supreme Court, which ultimately sided with the baker.
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