The First Amendment. It was nice while it lasted, wasn’t it?
In 2006 Vanessa Willock asked Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, owners of Elane Photography, to photograph a same-sex “commitment ceremony” in the town of Taos.
Huguenin and her husband declined the job because their Christian beliefs were in conflict with the message communicated by the ceremony.
Willock found another photographer at a cheaper price but nevertheless filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission accusing Elane Photography of discrimination based on sexual orientation. She was later found guilty and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines.
“The Huguenins today can no more turn away customers on the basis of their sexual orientation – photographing a same-sex marriage ceremony – than they could refuse to photograph African-Americans or Muslims,” Justice Richard Bosson wrote in the court’s unanimous decision.
Bosson said the Christian photographers are now “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.”
“Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering,” he wrote. “It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views.”
Bosson said the case provokes reflection on what the nation is about.
“At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others,” he wrote.
Why must we “compromise our values” to accommodate clashing values. Why can’t the people acting out their imaginary wedding compromise their values instead by leaving photographers who don’t want their business alone?
Why is the need of two lesbians to have a wedding photographers more compelling than Freedom of Religion?
Isn’t that freedom what the nation is about? If we had wanted a system that would force people to compromise their values because the state decided they should, why even bother with a revolution?
He said the Constitution protects the rights of the Christian photographers to pray to the God of their choice and following religious teachings, but offered a sobering warning.
“But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life,” the justice wrote. “The Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people.”
But it’s not the Huguenins who squeezed out the lesbian couple. It’s the lesbians who squeezed out the Huguenins.
Under the existing scheme, the lesbian couple had the right to hire anyone who would take their business and the Huguenins had the right to accept anyone’s business.
Under the new scheme, the lesbian couple get to compel a wedding photographer to perform for them while the Christians lose their religious freedom.
They’re the ones who have no more space left. And that is why gay rights is such a basic threat to the civil rights of everyone in the long run.
“The New Mexico Human Rights Act does not violate the photographer’s free-speech rights, the court concluded, because it “does not compel Elane Photography to either speak a government-mandated message or to publish the speech of another.”
Ah but it does.
Gay rights is a government-mandated message. That is why it has special protection.
One of the more hilariously absurd passages in Judge Bosson’s twisted ruling is that the New Mexico Religious Freedom Restoration Act which protects the right of freedom of religion applies only to government agencies, but not to the courts.
Meaning that Justice Bosson is free to compel you to violate your religion.