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When A Photographer Refuses To Shoot A Gay Wedding In Canada, It’s Against The Law

“I was with my friend and she was like, ‘Are we reading this right?’”

Debate rages in this country over whether businesses have the right to deny service to LGBT customers on religious grounds. Our neighbors to the north, however, decided some time ago they do not—and now a photographer who refused to shoot a same-sex wedding has run afoul of the law.

Mike Cerantola and his partner, Victor, reached to Montreal’s Premiere Productions about capturing their November wedding. When the photographer asked about the bride, Cerantola explained, “there is no bride—we’re two guys.”

The shutterbug surprised the couple by refusing the gig “because it is at odds with my personal religious beliefs.”

“I was with my friend and she was like, ‘Are we reading this right?’” Cerantola told CTV Montreal. “Obviously I was a little shocked to hear that, and this kind of thing had never happened to me before.”

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Not only does Canadian law prohibit discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation, it’s a violation of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

“Anyone who knows me knows I’m relatively a nice person and would never be malicious, but being refused by a photographer to shoot my wedding because I’m gay hurt me a little,” Cerantola wrote on Facebook. “No sweat off my back… but raising awareness for others who are in the same gay boat. Be aware, this company will turn you down if you are homosexual.”

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Thankfully the attention the case has generated means Cerantola has his pick of top-notch photographers more than happy to shoot his nuptials.

While he hopes changes its ways, others think he should file charges: “We have to stop this kind of use of religion as a proxy to promote anti-gay bias,” said Fo Niemi of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery