Photo Refusal Costs $7,000
by Gary North
Issue 207 – July 11, 2012
What’s that? You say you have a moral objection to lesbians getting married? You say you don’t think it’s appropriate for you to participate in the wedding as a paid professional? Well tough luck for you. Freedom of association is limited. Freedom to turn down an offer to accept a job is way too 90′s — 1890s.
That’s what three New Mexico judges said.
You see, the photographers are Christians. Freedom of association does not extend to them.
You say this is discriminatory? Well, I hope you don’t live in New Mexico.
Here is the problem. Discrimination is an inescapable concept in New Mexico. If a photographer discriminates against lesbians by refusing to photograph the event they call a wedding, because a photographer is a wedding photographer, and he does not beieve this is a wedding, then he gets fined.
On the other hand, if he is forced to shoot the wedding, then he gets discriminated against. His right of association is violated.
Here is the dilemma: laws against discrimination discriminate. This is not a sophist’s argument. It cost the photographers $7,000.
There is no neutrality in civil law. Someone has his toes stepped on. Someone is told, “You may not do that.”
The New Mexico Human Rights Commission imposed the penalty,, and the judges backed up the Commission.
I call this a sin of Commission.
You see, photography is a “public accommodation.”You know: like a hotel. It is illegal to refuse to accommodate someone in a public accommodation for reasons of race. It is also illegal to discriminate for reasons of“sexual orientation.” That’s what the court said.
The couple is being represented by Alliance Defense Fund, which says it will appeal the ruling.Without this, the defense would have cost the photographer tens of thousands of dollars. No — hundreds of thousands. This case has been in the courts since 2006.
Do you think this is unjust? Do you think this indicates that the legal system is morally corrupt. Well, you are entitled to your opinions. But you are getting dangerously close to a hate crime. You would be wise to keep your opinions to yourself.
But how does taking pictures get classified as public accommodations? Because getting your picture taken is classified as “an essential service” in New Mexico. As the judges ruled:
Services, facilities and accommodations are available to the general public through a variety of resources. Elane Photography takes advantage of these available resources to market to the public at large and invite them to solicit services offered by its photography business.
What if the lesbians had been KKK members and the photographers were black? The judges said this law would not apply. Why not? Because “The Ku Klux Klan is not a protected class.
My guess: if the lesbians had been neo-Nazis, and the photographers had been Jewish, this would also not have gone to court.
It’s different strokes for different folks, you see.
The judges continued: “The act of photographing a same-sex ceremony does not express any opinions regarding same-sex commitments, or disseminate a personal message about such ceremonies.” The judges are wrong. This is exactly what it implies for a Christian.
Does a Christian typesetter have a legal obligation to work for an anti-Christian author? In New Mexico, it might.
But the judges called this “a neutral regulation of commercial conduct.” They said the law does not not “infringe upon freedom of speech or compel unwanted expression.” Yes, it does.
There is no neutrality.
This is the heart of the culture wars. There is no neutrality. There is a war for control over the 100% non-neutral courts, and the Left hides under the phony umbrella of neutrality.
Christians who buy into this phony philosophy are sitting ducks. They are sheep going to the slaughter.
Christian are slow learners. They are meek and mild. Most of them have bought into the myth of neutrality. But a few are beginning to figure out how the courts are rigged, staffed by their enemies.
Christians have the votes. They just don’t have a systematic worldview. They don’t have political commitment. So, they get pushed around. This is not going to stop until they mobilize politically.
Gary North writes The Tea Party Economist, where this first appeared.