NEVER IN AMERICA?
Mark Steyn and Maclean's magazine battle with the tyrannical commissariat Canadian Human Rights Commission has gotten a lot of attention on the blogosphere, as well it should. Yet readers in the USA are likely saying "yeah well that would never happen here, we love our liberty and rights too much!"
Think again. In New Mexico, Elane Photography takes an artistic approach to marriage, photographing the events as they occur rather than with staged shots after the event. They were asked to document a same-sex "commitment ceremony" and refused; the lesbian couple were outraged and took the case to the New Mexico Human Rights commission.
Sound familiar yet?
The commission ruled that the refusal to photograph this event violated New Mexico anti-discrimination laws and ordered the business to pay $6,637 to the lesbian couple.
The commission viewed Huguenin's business as a public accommodation, similar to a restaurant or a store.
Willock's attorney, Julie Sakura of Santa Fe, said the commission's decision based on a public accommodation "is the correct application of New Mexico law to the facts of this case."
Eugene Volokh has been following this case closely, and points out a few problems with the ruling.
Second, he states that Elane Photography's objection was religious in origin, which is also protected by New Mexico anti discrimination law
A government agency shall not restrict a person's free exercise of religion unless:
A. the restriction is in the form of a rule of general applicability and does not directly discriminate against religion or among religions; and
B. the application of the restriction to the person is essential to further a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
Third, he examines the strange concept of compelling an artist to create art against their will. Such as forcing a writer to write about a topic they don't like, or making a jazz musician produce rap, or they're discriminating.
Fourth, he detonates the idea that somehow taking pictures is the same as selling items in a store, where you must serve all comers regardless of personal objections. Putting it simply: hiring a specialist on contract for specific work is different than a business open to the public and whoever comes in.
Fifth, he points out that the New Mexico Human Rights Commission (NMHRC) decision overall declares that the first amendment is completely irrelevant to decisions regarding discrimination in New Mexico: your rights are abrogated when it comes to what they consider discrimination.
And finally, it turns out the NMHRC refused to even consider the religious objections of Elane Photography. They just discarded that aspect of the case and went on to condemn someone for daring to disagree with homosexuality.
Which target of discrimination should be more protected? Gays being happy or religions holding their beliefs? The NMHRC has made their position clear. Which should be more protected? Clearly the one that is most beneficial to and proper for society at large. The group or concept that is better for the future, well-being, and cohesion of the community and the nation overall. Between gay "marriage" and religion, which fits this profile? At its most average, religion unmistakably and overwhelmingly is better for the overall culture and nation simply by numbers and historical benefit. Even if somehow gay "marriage" is a right or something that ought to even be considered by a society, it affects a small portion of a small minority in a way that is nearly inconsequential by any definition in any conceivable benefits to society.
Think about it, this ruling in effect compels the business to take all clients regardless of personal inclination or religious belief, it forces you to do business with everyone, everywhere, no matter what you think or believe. I have a problem with this approach for housing and food - if a restaurant is stupid enough to not want to serve redheads or short people, that's their loss of business - but when you take it a step further for a service like wedding photography, you're crossing a line I doubt anyone wants to see.
Never in America? Think again: it's inevitable, based on the attitudes and interests of the left. This is their vision of the future, not a nation indivisible, but a nation divided into balkanized small special interest identity groups warring on each other with a hierarchy of which are most to be obeyed and protected. This is how the left wants to see America, ruled by unquestioned government commissions of "right thinking, enlightened" people handing down rulings in a world where morality is discarded and government power makes people do what some consider right.
Again, something to keep in mind when you vote: what would they say about this, would they support it or fight against it? Would they be inclined to have a commission of this sort, appoint people who make this kind of decision or not?
Previously on WATN:
New Mexico, Elane Photography, Human Rights Commission