Photography studio violated discrimination laws by refusing gay clients.

Ron White, when telling his famous story about getting thrown out of a bar, finishes it with the line “Ok, I told you that story so I can tell you this other story…”  That’s how this post is going to be.

First, a photography studio in New Mexico that refused to photograph a gay wedding has been ruled to have broken the state’s discrimination laws.

The court found that Elane Photography’s refusal to serve Vanessa Willock violated the act, which “prohibits a public accommodation from refusing to offer its services to a person based on that person’s sexual orientation,” according to the ruling.

This is a good ruling.  Just as you could not expect to be able to refuse service to black people, even if you were the most ardent Klan member, you also cannot refuse service to gay people, regardless of what you think of their lifestyle.  Discrimination is horrid regardless.

Ok, I told you that story so I could tell you the real reason I wanted to blog about this.  It’s what Richard C. Bosson, one of the concurring judges, wrote about it.  It’s one of the best things I’ve read in some time:

Justice Richard C. Bosson, writing in concurrence, said that the case “provokes reflection on what this nation is all about, its promise of fairness, liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice.” In addition, the 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. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less.”

The owners of Elane Photography, Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin, “are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish” Bosson wrote. Nevertheless, in the “world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different.”

Doing so, Bosson said, is “the price of citizenship.”

Forget “In God We Trust”…let’s put that on some American monuments.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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