Gina Vaynshteyn
June 29, 2015 11:00 am
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Last Friday was a huge day for the country: the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that no state in the US can legally ban same-sex marriage, and all 50 states must recognize same-sex unions —meaning ALL marriage is FINALLY legal across the board. Hooray hooray! While responses to the SCOTUS decision have been overwhelmingly positive, we’ve sadly seen some misguided comments on the Internet. One of which was directed at photographer Clinton Brentwood Lee, owner of Brentwood Photography, a Florida-based company.

Shortly after the Supreme Court announced its decision, Lee showed his support on Facebook by running his profile picture and cover photo through a rainbow filter —something many Facebook users and pages have been doing (including Google, Huffington Post, American Airlines, Tumblr, etc.). Unfortunately, one of Lee’s clients had an issue with that.

The client messaged the photographer, “Greeting Brentwood. We would just like to inform you that we will NOT be using your service for [our] wedding. My fiancé and I support traditional marriage between a man and a woman and don’t want to our money going to places that supports otherwise [sic].”

Instead of ignoring the homophobic message, Lee replied. And then posted the conversation on Facebook, where it amassed over 73,000 likes, 12,500 shares and about 3,500 comments since Saturday (June 27th). The photographer not only told the client that her message was “disappointing,” but he also let her know that the non-refundable retainer (for the wedding photos) will be donated to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a group that supports and fights for LGBTQ+ rights. ZING! Here’s the full message:

Lee paired the screenshot with this explanatory caption: “Lost a client for supporting Gay Marriage. But that’s ok! We love everyone, even this now former client who may not have liked our reply. Lol. Brentwood Photography will continue to love and support every person from every walk of life.”

Lee told Buzzfeed why he shared the message on social media, saying, “I think it’s important to show support for gay marriage because we are all human beings just wanting the same thing. Someone to love us, and the same protection and rights under the law. Everyone deserves their ‘happily ever after.’”

Although Lee has received his fair share of hate mail since posting the exchange with his client, he told Buzzfeed he doesn’t care. Lee states, “I think it’s truly beautiful the amount of positive messages and words of encouragement I have received; it has been about 90% positive and 10% gut-wrenching, sad personal attacks. The hate that comes out of these people’s mouths make me want to cry, but the 90% give me the strength to stay strong and not doubt what I did.” And we fully support Lee’s smart, brazen actions.

As for the client who originally sent the message — she responded to Lee with another hurtful message, and asked the photographer to take the conversation down from Facebook. To this, Lee wrote on his Facebook wall, “People haven’t gotten it yet that if you send me a message saying something silly, there is a chance it may end up in this post. Sorry/not sorry,” and attached another screenshot of the conversation with the client.

Amazing. If we could, we would like Lee’s heartfelt, meaningful responses a thousand times. While many US citizens are still hostile toward same-sex relationships, let alone marriage, individuals like Lee prove that we have the power to change the narrative in a really positive, powerful way.

(Images via Facebook)