Florida mother of 2 takes a stand for marriage through photography

Editors’ Note: This post was written by Meredith Mechanik in partnership with Equality Florida.

It wasn’t long after Lisa Otto, a straight mother of two, started photographing weddings and couples in the Tampa Bay area when she noticed that something – or someone – was missing.

Again and again, with the lack of same-sex couples getting married in Florida, Lisa found herself being reminded that many families in the Sunshine State are denied the fundamental freedom to marry.

Lisa decided to take a stand for marriage through her photography, welcoming same-sex couples and helping them celebrate their happy moments.

She reached out to Doug, a photographer friend she met through social media, and his partner Michael and asked if she could do a photo shoot for them. With their two-year anniversary approaching, the couple was more than happy to oblige.

As they set out for the session, Lisa wasn’t sure how businesses would respond when she walked in with her camera and two men. But at their first stop, a local coffee shop, Lisa’s request to shoot was met with a resounding, “Of course!” from the owner. The three-hour session went off without a hitch, and Doug and Michael’s presence on her website has helped heighten her visibility within the LGBT community.

Aside from personally standing up for the freedom to marry, Lisa recognizes the economic boost that would come from allowing all same-sex couples to marry in Florida. Local businesses would have incredible new opportunities within the wedding industry, supporting the Florida economy while helping couples celebrate. Lisa urges businesses to look at the big picture and consider what this could do for both the economy and the state as a whole.

With this big picture in mind, Lisa is optimistic about the fight for the freedom to marry. “We have shown that Florida is ready – the support that I see is amazing!” she said.

She wants to continue celebrating same-sex couples in Florida, whether it’s through couple photo sessions, like Doug and Michael’s, or weddings. “I’m all about traveling,” she said, “but it’s a whole lot easier to shoot weddings in my own backyard!”