aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

I really don't know what to make of this one

The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that a photography studio that refused to photograph a gay wedding is guilty of discrimination. This seems to be the trend, but I wonder.

On the one hand, we all understand that if you run a lunch counter, you serve everyone who sits down and offers to pay. If you have a store, you take everyone's money who comes in. If you are a realtor, you have to tell every buyer every property you have listed. On this basis, the court's decision makes sense.

But hold on. Would it have been the same if the studio -- which I presume would do other religious or ceremonial occasions, such as a Bar Mitzvah -- refused to photograph a religious ritual involving animal sacrifice? or snake handling? Can one refuse to shoot a wedding if it requires one to do so from a hot air balloon? What if it refused to photograph the inauguration of new Ku Klux Klan officers? Does being a "public accommodation" have no limits on conscience? Or squeamishness?

I don't know. You know, we keep seeing gay marriage equated with full civil rights for African Americans, but what if we compared it to, say, abortion? Abortion is a legal medical practice. Yet there is no penalty for a doctor -- any doctor -- refusing to perform one. Why does this gay couple in New Mexico have the right to demand a photographer give them what they want just because they want it when a pregnant woman does not have the right to demand her ob/gyn abort her fetus just because she wants it?

So, there are legal products and services you cannot be denied for any reason -- and there are legal products and services you can be denied, at least by a provider who has scruples about them. Where is the dividing line between the two? Do the cases involving religious objections to Obamacare regs making their way through the courts right now track with this case, since in both cases the personal beliefs of private persons running public businesses are the subject of controversy? Right now, the litigious are just suing everybody, and courts seem to be deciding the cases ad hoc. That doesn't bode well for anybody who's worried about freedom of conscience.

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