No one is talking about forcing ministers to perform same-sex marriages: but you can’t do hair for the wedding party of a gay couple? Which part of the Bible is that in? Maybe local hair stylist Abby Hartsell (Instagram @hairbyabbyhartsell) can tell us, since just last week she refused to work with Nick Kuhl and Rich Latuska in their upcoming nuptials.
Hartsell was a 2019 Pick for the Best of Weddings by The Knot – whose web banner currently features same sex couples! (Just as an FYI, their instagram is @theknotpro, and their Couple’s Services team can be reached here).
Kuhl told O&AN, “Rich and I met about six years ago – I was a Vanderbilt undergrad at the time and he was a Vanderbilt medical student. Rich had just come out and I was beginning the process of coming out, so it’s safe to say that we’re both in a very different place now. Currently, I’m in my last year of medical school at Vanderbilt, and Rich works as a physician in the Emergency Department at Vanderbilt’s Children’s Hospital.”
These guys are a serious, professional couple who are so clearly in love. “Rich and I are getting married in Nashville on May 18, 2019. We’ve been engaged for quite some time, so we’re at the point in the planning process where we’re starting to wrap up loose ends and smaller details (shout out to our incredible wedding planner, Bruce Pittman, for keeping us in line).”
“Our mothers, my grandmothers, and the women on both sides of the wedding party said they wanted to have their hair and makeup done professionally for the big day,” Kuhl added. “With the help of Bruce, Rich and I started to reach to some local hair/makeup vendors.”
And this brings us to Abby Hartsell. “Our sisters also contacted other vendors on Instagram. Rich’s sister, Lauren, was actually the person who reached out to Abby Hartsell on her professional Instagram account and had the conversation that has now been floating around the Nashville community.”
“Lauren initially asked Abby if she was available to do hair/makeup on May 18th. Abby replied yes and re-directed Lauren to her website for information on pricing. Lauren proceeded to provide additional information about the wedding (including the fact that it’s a gay wedding), to which Abby replied ‘I actually don’t do gay weddings’ and then offered to give Lauren referrals.”
“Lauren was shocked by this response,” Kuhl said, “and did not ultimately bother to reply, so we never actually received any information on Abby’s references.”
Kuhl understands that, yes, his family members can go to other hair stylists – and of course they family will. But in his eyes a wrong is still being done. “Personally, I respect Abby for offering to provide referrals to other stylists who aren’t as discriminatory on the basis of sexual orientation, and we thank her for doing one thing right. However, Abby’s [offering] references doesn’t [mitigate] the fact that she runs a business that blatantly (and, frustratingly, legally) discriminates against the LGBTQ+ community in the services it provides.”
Unlike other providers who have recently refused to serve LGBT couples and their families, Hartsell does not explicitly advertise on her website that she will not do so. And while her social media posts demonstrate a Christian commitment, this does not – despite the right – indicate an anti-gay stance. Of course, many Christians are LGBT or allies.
In fact the language of some of her posts would lend themselves to a tolerant stance. For instance, in one post, Hartsell wrote, “Hearts matter. People matter. And YOU matter to God. (God. Not Christians/churches who made you mad. Or bad experience. They’re humans too!)” (POST EMBEDDED BELOW) So this couple and their family truly could not have anticipated the denial of service.
With the state’s General Assembly currently rushing through a ‘Slate of Hate’ designed to enshrine anti-LGBT discrimination as the right of the Right, occurrences like these remind us that, even in liberal enclaves like Nashville, there are those who will utilize those rights to assign LGBT people the status of second class citizens.
Other businesses who have recently refused LGBT customers include those detailed in The Rhinestone Wedding Chapel Refuses Same-Sex Marriages and Susie’s Sweets Refuses to Serve Gay Couples
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It’s official!! ✨ I am so excited to share that I am one of @theknotpro ‘s #bestofweddings2019 winners!! ? This is my first year with the Knot and my first time winning, so I’m one happy girl over here!! To each of my brides (and their families!) that have chosen #hairbyabbyhartsell as their wedding day stylist, A huge “THANKYOU” for letting me be a part of your big day, and making this fancy lil’ GIF happen!? • Because of you guys, and the platform provided through #theknot , I have been able to travel to beautiful venues, witness such special moments between families and friends, and honestly just meet some really cool people!!! You guys are way cooler than you think!! Lol • And not to pull a Pam from the Office, but credit honestly does go to God. He created Marriage, He created any ounce of creativity, (both kind of needed for wedding hair! Lol) and He created you and me with a unique purpose and a platform. This just happens to be mine. • Hair styles wash out. Hair doesn’t act like you want it to sometimes. It’s temporary. Your worth and my worth are not found in that! You are called “beautiful” and “beloved” by God. “Who looks not on the outward (like humans) but on the heart.” He sees the nitty-gritty and still sent Jesus. The True bridegroom. Hearts matter. People matter. And YOU matter to God. (God. Not Christians/churches who made you mad. Or bad experience. They’re humans too!) • But anyway if you’re still reading this, go you!! Lol If you have any questions / or even want to say “..girl stop..” send me a message! I would love to talk! ? • Seriously Thank you guys so much! ? Here’s to a new year of weddings and love! ? **these are my personal views and do not represent the views of TheKnot.com or their affiliations** Yay!!!!! ✨??