Main | Thursday, April 10, 2008

Anti-Gay Photog Loses Case In New Mexico

Elaine Huguenin, the New Mexico photographer who refused to work a lesbian wedding, has been found guilty of discrimination by the state's Human Rights Commission and ordered to pay $6600 in attorney fees and court costs. The case has outraged both libertarians and conservatives.

From The Volokh Conspiracy :
I haven't seen any written statement of reasons, but the order must implicitly rest on two interpretations of state law: (1) This sort of photography company constitutes a "public accommodation," defined by state law "any establishment that provides or offers its services, facilities, accommodations or goods to the public, but does not include a bona fide private club or other place or establishment that is by its nature and use distinctly private." (2) A refusal to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony constitutes sexual orientation discrimination, which New Mexico law forbids. These may or may not be sensible interpretations of the statutory text. But the result seems to me to likely violate the First Amendment (though there's no precedent precisely on point).
From The Liberty Papers:
[T]his case points out the extent to which so-called “economic” rights, such as the right to decide who you do business with, have been eroded over the past 50 years. There is no reason that Ms. Huguenin should be forced to take on a job she doesn’t want to take. What if, instead of citing the same-sex nature of the ceremony, she has simply said she was too busy to take on the project ? Presumably, that would have been a legitimate reason to turn it down, and if that’s the case, then I see no reason why she should be forced to work for these people just because she doesn’t approve of their lifestyle.
From Stop The ACLU:
Consider a few analogies: Imagine a black photographer being forced by the “human rights” commission to photograph a KKK rally. Imagine pro-abortion sign-maker being forced to print pro-life signs. Imagine Stop the ACLU being forced to run Code Pink ads.…and on and on…This is an outrageous affront to the First Amendment, which protects not just the right to privately hold certain beliefs, but to live them out publicly. This sort of coercion and punishment is fit, not for the United States, but for the worst totalitarian regimes.

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