Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Gay thing: Supreme Court Declines Photographer "Religious Freedom" Case

When marriage equality activism started reaping widespread results, and began to seem inevitable in all 50 states, counter-forces tried a new tactic. Christian business owners began to claim that it was a violation of their "religious freedom" to have to sell products or services to gay couples for their weddings. There were several things wrong with these cases.

In most, there were public accommodations laws which forbid discrimination toward gay people. In most, oddly enough, there wasn't even legal "gay marriage" in the localities involved, at least not at the time. And in several, notably bakeries, the dispute wasn't even a gay wedding, but the reception after. Which is kind of strange, since receptions are seldom religious affairs.

Image from source, Washington Post
There were other problems, such as why a company would care who they sell a cake or flowers to. Why a customer's religious beliefs should have to align with the sellers. And then the practical implications, like, would it be the clerk's or the owner's religious beliefs that had to be followed? Which religions get this exemption? Which businesses should get this exemption? What law would be immune from being potentially exempted? It's a can of worms in a Pandora's Box. And it's still not clear how selling something would violate religious freedom.

The case that was before the Supreme Court was a wedding photographer. Or, more precisely, a commitment ceremony photographer,* who didn't want to take pictures for a gay couple. But SCOTUS declined to hear the case, so the lower court decision stands: the photographer loses.

*It should be noted that in the marriage equality fight, we're often confronted with the "why do they have to call it marriage?" argument. Allegedly, if we were to only be happy with civil unions, domestic partnerships and commitment ceremonies, all would be well, and the battle would end. Except that in this case, as with several others, there was no legal marriage.


Supreme Court declines case of photographer who denied service to gay couple
The Supreme Court declined on Monday to consider whether a New Mexico photographer had a right to refuse service to a same-sex couple who wanted her to record their commitment ceremony. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

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