One of Australia’s leading wedding magazines, White, is shutting down following its refusal to feature same-sex weddings.
- More than 100 wedding industry professionals have boycotted the magazine
- The founders say advertisers have withdrawn their support and the magazine is no longer economically viable
- They say they didn’t feature same-sex couples because they didn’t want to “create a social war”
Founders Luke and Carla Burrell, who are Christian, say the magazine became the target of a damaging campaign after Australia voted to legalise same-sex marriage last year, and a number of advertisers withdrew their support.
“White Magazine is no longer economically viable,” they said in a blog post.
“As much as we love what we do and are inspired by the positive impact it’s had, we need to draw the curtain on this part of our lives.”
Earlier this year, hundreds of wedding industry professionals boycotted the magazine over its lack of LGBTQI diversity.
Former contributor Lara Hotz, who photographed a number of covers for the magazine, told Hack it made her feel “extremely hurt”.
“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,” she said.
Magazine says ‘we’re not about sides, we’re about love’
In a statement online, Luke and Carla Burrell said White was a secular magazine and they had no other agenda than “to love”.
But when they were asked to show their support for the same-sex marriage campaign, they could not.
“We started getting messages then [saying]: ‘You’re the only magazine in Australia that’s not showing your support. Come on, guys. Jump on board. Move forward with 2018’,” Ms Burrell said.
“But there was always something that just stopped us because we just didn’t want to enter into that conversation that wasn’t a loving conversation, and add heat to a hot conversation.”
The couple said they did not want to “create a social, political or legal war” that would only divide people and do “more damage than good”.
“We’re not about sides, we’re about love, patience and kindness,” they said.
But they said they received a “flood of judgement” and were not given enough time or space to work through their thoughts and feelings.
“It’s a long and continuing journey, it’s not black and white, there are so many grey areas that need to be explored.”
“It has become clear that while we’re on this journey, we won’t be given the grace and patience that we need, nor can we operate in a way that accurately reflects the deep love we have for all.”
Readers say they only wanted transparency
Former contributors told Hack in August they did not want to force the magazine to publish same-sex weddings, but only to make their views clear.
“I think it is particularly important for a media outlet to be 100 per cent transparent so the public can make an informed decision about what they are buying,” one contributor said.
On Facebook, many readers said they too only wanted clarity.
“All we ever wanted was transparency, but the magazine was happy to take our money without being clear about what their values really were,” Ellen Tang said.