Supreme Court declines to hear freedom of association case

Which means if you’re a business owner and you’re asked to provide a service in a manner that conflicts with your beliefs, too bad.

The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from Christian photographers in New Mexico who were fined and admonished by the New Mexico Supreme Court for declining to work a same-sex ceremony. According to the Fox News article, the attorney for the couple argued that “as a public business (the photographer) is required to follow the same anti-discrimination laws as any other company.”

Is it presumptuous of me to assume that the definition of “discrimination” would have as much of a double-standard as it did for Eich, the former CEO of Mozilla who was forced to resign after it was discovered he donated $1,000 to Proposition 8 in California?

Let me offer a scenario: There is a gay photographer who runs their own business. A Christian fundamentalist couple planning a very religious wedding ceremony approach the photographer to take photos for it. The photographer declines it, citing the fact that her beliefs are at odds with the religious nature of the wedding that does not accept gay marriage as legitimate. The couple sues for discrimination.

Does anybody really think they will win?

Didn’t think so.

Naturally, I think neither should win. A gay photographer has as much of a right to discriminate against religious couples as a Christian photographer has the right to discriminate against gay couples. If it is their business, it is their private property, and as such they have a right to do with it as they please.

Think of the implications of this state Supreme Court ruling and the SCOTUS declining it: The premise is that you do not actually own your business. You start it, run it, comply with all the laws and regulations and must maintain it. But the government gets to reap the fruits of your labor via the income tax and then dictate the manner in which you decide with whom you shall conduct business.

Ultimately, this won’t change anything. Christian photographers, if they are smart, will simply require couples to fill out a form and then send out a decline or acceptance letter or email, much like a company sends out a rejection letter to those who apply for a job there.

And, more importantly, it’s not going to lead to tolerance, only more animosity against those who use the State to force other people to do what they want through coercion and threats of violence.

William Norman Grigg correctly points out that this amounts to involuntary servitude.

He writes:

A slave is somebody compelled to provide service to another. Elane Huguenin, a wedding photographer from New Mexico, was arraigned before that state’s “human rights” soviet for politely declining to provide her services to a lesbian couple planning a “commitment ceremony” (the state doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage)…….

In its ruling upholding the actions of New Mexico’s “human rights” soviet, the State Supreme Court claimed that the lesbian couple had a right “to obtain goods and services from a public accommodation without discrimination on the basis of … sexual orientation.” This assumes that business owners like Huguenin have a duty to provide such services – and no right to decline participation in that transaction. In other words, involuntary servitude – despite being explicitly banned by the 13th Amendment – is justified in the service of “anti-discrimination” policy.


This entry was posted in Constitutional Law and Courts, libertarianism, Small business and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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