News, Wit & Commentary for Lesbians
JIC Post: By Andrew KeeganWashington BladeLast year, an Asheville, N.C., lesbian couple enjoyed a picture perfect wedding day in Provincetown, Mass., and wanted to share that moment with friends in the gay-friendly resort town.But within a month after their wedding announcement appeared in the local paper, they claim, a ski resort that had hired the couple to take photos told the duo their services were no longer needed.Laurel Scherer owns and operates All Terrain Images while her partner, Virginia Balfour, a physical therapist, assists on weekends during the ski season.The couple maintain that Wolf Laurel Ski Resort terminated a verbal business contract after discovering they were gay.A representative at Wolf Laurel said the resort would not comment on the issue. But when contacted on his cell phone, a co-owner did not deny Scherer was dismissed because of her sexual orientation."We are a private business and made a decision that was best for the business," said Rick Bussey. "Write your story any way you want; I have nothing else to say."Scherer said that in January 2004 she approached Wolf Laurel Ski Resort, located about 30 minutes north of Asheville in Mars Hill, N.C., about a business venture."I proposed setting up a booth offering to take digital photos of skiers and snowboarders," Scherer said. "I would bring in my own computers and let customers pick which photos they wanted."According to Scherer, Johnny Goin, the resort manager, was on board with the idea, indicating the resort did not have any good photos for marketing, and the lodge would use some of Scherer’s photos in exchange.Scherer said after the 2004 ski season, which usually ends in early March, Goin said he would see her back next season.There were no problems during the 2004-2005 ski season, said Scherer.Believing everything was business as usual, Scherer went to the resort Nov. 29 to set up her booth for the season. After spending half a day setting up computers on the second floor, Orville English, a co-owner of the lodge approached her, she said."He told me that half the lodge had been sold and the new owner [Rick Bussey] wanted this space to sell real estate," Scherer said. "I asked if I could move to another area or even pay rent for the space. He said no."Scherer said as she began packing her equipment she wondered if the couple’s wedding announcement, which was published in the Asheville Citizen on Nov. 6, had anything to do with the sudden termination of the verbal contract she established nearly two years ago."It just didn’t make sense," Scherer said. "The lodge is 42,000 square feet; they’re not lacking for space."When Scherer returned home and explained what happened to Balfour, her partner agreed something didn’t sound right, and called the new co-owner and asked if the couples’ published wedding announcement had any bearing on the situation.Bussey said, "I won’t deny that was one of the reasons," according to Balfour. Bussey went on to say the lodge was a "family-oriented business" and having a gay person around could harm business, she said.Given there were no problems when English was sole owner, the couple decided to ask him if could intervene.His response was, "I just don’t like that and [don’t] want it here," Scherer said.
Post a Comment