Stephen Richer '15 on Elane Photography v. Willock

Same-Sex Marriage Ruling May Polarize the Marriage Equality Debate
Stephen Richer, '15
Jurist
September 10, 2013

On August 22, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled against the freedom of religion. The case,Elane Photography v. Willock, pitted Christian professional photographer Elaine Huguenin against Vanessa Willock and her same-sex partner. When Willock asked Huguenin to photograph her same-sex commitment ceremony, Huguenin declined, stating that the assignment would conflict with her Christian beliefs. The trial court ruled that Huguenin violated the state's Human Rights Act and fined her $7,000. The appeals court affirmed. So did the New Mexico Supreme Court [PDF], unanimously, on August 22.

There are many disturbing aspects of this decision: it cuts against free religious practice (the main argument made by lead defense counsel Alliance Defending Freedom); it compels speech (the argument made by Eugene Volokh, Dale Carpenter and the Cato Institute, an organization that supports gay rights and marriage equality); and it reinforces the simple but toxic idea that private businesses can't actually make private decisions.

In addition to the anti-freedom consequences above, the decision also promises to hurt the gay-equality movement. This seems counterintuitive at first as the gay plaintiff won the case, but it doesn't take a novel theory to realize how such a ruling could damage the movement.

Comments

this is a freedom of conscience case, more than of speech

I simply do not understand how these cases can be framed as discrimination from a legal standpoint. The provider is refusing to provide service because they would be serving a destructive political and social agenda. These are freedom of conscience cases, much more than freedom of speech. The compelled speech is just the type of compelled behavior (working for people who are destroying society because of their political agenda). It’s no different than being asked to take photographs of a Neo-Nazi event or a porn shoot and refusing.

There is no such thing as equating “sexual orientation” to race (or any in-born physical characteristics), thus legislation that equate it to racial discrimination is empty of meaning. It is a fraudulent concept at its very root. This is just one more case that evidences that every piece of legislation regarding discrimination based on sexual orientation is a fraud and must be scrapped. Lastly, and the most important point in all of this, is that once you establish a “protected class” for whom different laws apply, you’ve clearly done away with equal protection before the law.

Thus, everyone has a most fundamental right to discriminate based on sexual ideology and behavior. The right to total discrimination against others pushing pornography onto you is a fundamental human right. The right to total discrimination against prostitution, sexualization of kids, S&M, etc., is a fundamental human right. And so it is with people pushing a noxious and ignorant homosexuality agenda that normalizes homosexuality instead of trying to resolve it. Everyone who has such problems (LGBTs) is responsible for investigating their underlying psychological problems that produce their dysfunctional sexual psychologies.