Update on lesbian photographers who lost contract at NC ski resort
Blender Ann received an update from the lesbian couple who lost their photography business at a North Carolina ski resort. The owner learned that they were gay after their Massachusetts wedding announcement appeared in the Asheville paper, and cut off their contract. (see my post, Bigotry in NC ski country).
Even worse, the owner continues to use their photos on his ski resort’s site and has shared them with other businesses, something that Laurel Scherer will be taking legal action on.
I’m sending this email to give everyone an update on the events of the last month.
First, thank you to all who have sent letters of encouragement our way. Thanks also to all who have forwarded emails about our situation and especially to those who have taken the time to write to the Wolf Laurel owners. At a minimum, the hundreds of letters and emails they have received must have made them second guess their poor decision. Your support has been very important and is certainly appreciated.
In fact, with all of the attention being given to our situation at Wolf Laurel and the larger issue of workplace discrimination, we seem to have inadvertently started a social movement of sorts in and around Asheville. Many of you wanted to know what to do to help combat this discrimination and bigotry, and to attempt to make some progress towards educating people about this injustice and preventing it from happening to others. We didn’t know what to tell you, so we gathered together a small group of about 12 people to determine what, if anything, we could do. That group has emerged into the beginnings of an organization called People for Employment Equality for Gays and Lesbians, or eegl.
We hope that as we continue to grow this organization, many of you will choose to get involved and take action. For now, we are still in the initial developmental stages, but you can check out our new website at: www.eegl.org.
We will do our best to keep it updated with news and upcoming events in order to keep you informed and provide opportunities for you to support our mission, which you can read about at the site.
As far as my situation with Wolf Laurel’s owners, they are ignoring me. I informed them two months ago that they were no longer permitted to use my photographs to market their resort, but they continue to do so (without any compensation to me) to this day. In fact, they have given my photographs to others to use in promoting real estate ventures in the WL area. They are willfully engaging in copyright infringement, and I am pursuing this legally, but it may be a long battle. Every attorney I have spoken with so far has informed me that from a discrimination standpoint, I have no case since there are no protections in the state of North Carolina.
Here are a couple of things you can do to get involved in the immediate future: Attend an upcoming protest rally sponsored by Asheville NOW and NC NOW (National Organization for Women). The rally will be Feb. 18th at Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville from 11:30 – 2:00.
There will be speakers from NOW, Equality NC, eegl, etc. Music will be headlined by the Divine MAGgees. Please see information from NOW about this event: http://www.eegl.org/now_protest.pdf. The better the turnout at this rally, the more of a statement it will make. Please plan to attend if you are available.
Go to http://www.eegl.org/action.html for more information on getting your sticker. You can also get one at the NOW rally.
Thank you again. Neither Virginia or I ever intended to become this involved as “activists”, but the events of the last couple of months have made us more aware, and we realize the importance of educating the public about the inequality faced by LGBT individuals in this state and in this nation. We hope that our experience will serve as a catalyst to change.
Laurel E. Scherer
All Terrain Images