Luke and Carla Burrell
In a dramatic demonstration of the power of the LGBTQI lobby, an Australian wedding magazine is closing down because its editors refuse to feature same-sex weddings.
White, a glossy magazine published quarterly for 12 years by husband and wife team Luke and Carla Burrell, has been haemorrhaging advertisers since LGBTQI activists launched a campaign on social media to destroy it.
White’s circulation had reached 32,000 copies and it was circulated in 17 countries. In addition to the Burrells it had one full-time employee. It depended on a network of photographers for content and advertisers for income. All this started to unravel with the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia.
In August, a lesbian wedding photographer, Lara Holz, noticed that the magazine had ignored the introduction of same-sex marriage. She asked the owners why and was told “we aren't sharing Same Sex weddings at this point”. The news went viral on social media with the hashtag #unveilyourvalues. Critics of the Burrells contended that they should state openly that they were in favour of discriminating against same-sex couples. Tanya Voltchanskaya, “a queer photographer that wishes to see equality across all Australian publications”, wrote on Facebook:
In this day and age, both vendors and consumers increasingly choose to spend their money on brands with aligned values. Whether you are queer or straight, I believe you have a right to know the beliefs behind a company before you support them. Therefore White Magazine owes it to their consumers and vendors to be 100% honest about their policy regarding their current boycott of same-sex marriage, as their silence is currently misleading.
It didn’t take long for the magazine’s advertisers to scuttle off the sinking ship. The Burrells explained in a post on their website:
“A campaign was launched targeting the magazine, our team and our advertisers. Couples who have featured in our magazine have also been the subject of online abuse despite their individual beliefs. We’re really saddened by this.
“The result has been that a number of advertisers withdrew their sponsorship out of fear of being judged, or in protest. We have had to recognise the reality that White Magazine is no longer economically viable.”
Why did the publishers refuse to feature gay weddings? Without elaborating, they explained that they were Christians and felt unable to promote same-sex marriage:
White Magazine has always been a secular publication, but as its publishers, we are Christian. We have no agenda but to love. We have no desire to create a social, political or legal war, which only divides people further and does more damage than good. To us, our faith is anchored in love without judgement.
And guess what? “Recently,” they said understatedly, “we’ve experienced a flood of judgement.”
You needn’t go further than the comments on their valedictory blog post to experience the venom and disdain which sank their business:
That's got to be the most hypocritical piece of drivel I've ever read.
Good to hear that this Christians homophoibic run magazine closed down for business. Time to celebrate.
For a couple that constantly uses the phrase 'We are all about love', you guys sure seem adopt the tactics of hate.
Please take a hard look at yourselves and consider why other people’s love can’t be a part of your mission to share it with the world. So damn selfish of you.
No loss. Religious fueled hate is no longer acceptable in the 21st century. I'm sure you'll be OK, just pray to you gad. Ha ha ha
You go ahead and haul your judgemental behinds into the sunset; one less hypocritcal judgemental so called christian duo to deal with!
This is just a sample of the virulent commentary which scared off advertisers. They knew that their business would be blasted by a Twitterstorm if they ran advertisements in White.
What’s weird about this hate-filled commentary is that a number of LGBTQI activists feel that they are still victims of, you guessed it, hate-filled commentary.
A recent book about the plebiscite from an LGBTQI perspective, Going Postal: more than ‘yes’ and ‘no’ says that “Many of us were shocked at the vitriol directed at us, to our faces, in our letter boxes and online, even in ‘secret’ Facebook groups … Yes, we can get married now. But many of us have been left wondering whether it was worth it. Many of us are living with the ongoing grief of having our lives, and those of our children, be up for public debate.”
A philosophy lecturer at Deakin University, Joshua Badge, has claimed that “Verbal and physical assaults against LGBT people doubled in the aftermath of the survey, accompanied by a dramatic increase in stress, anxiety and depression within the community.”
Activists are using these dubious claims of stigma, vilification and stress to contend that the success of the plebiscite can only be the beginning of a program of re-educating the public. “Its aftermath has exposed a legal and social landscape in which the human rights of LGBT people are still not adequately valued and respected,” says another lecturer, Timothy W. Jones, of La Trobe University.
So this leaves us with a situation in which LGBTQI folks are simultaneously victims and oppressors. They are coddled and cossetted lest we hurt their feelings and they are above criticism when they hurt the feelings – and ruin the livelihoods – of people they despise. Politically, this puts them in the catbird seat; morally, it’s despicable.
Nelson Mandela, who knew a thing or two about being a victim and the temptation to oppress a losing side, felt very differently about the responsibilities of a victor. He wrote in Long Walk to Freedom, “I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else's freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.”
When will Australians hear such noble sentiments from LGBTQI activists? When hell freezes over, perhaps. Not before.
Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet.
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