Worthy of a special round of Scruples, this one. I ran across a story of New Mexico event photographers who wound up in a bit of hot water over refusing to take photos for a lesbian wedding. The lesbian couple in question took the matter to the Human Rights Commission back in 2006 and Elaine and Jon Huguenin, joint owners of Elaine Photography, have now been asked to pay $7000 for discrimination based on sexual orientation.
I’m going to say they shouldn’t have to. This isn’t a case of a Justice of the Peace refusing to wed a lesbian couple, or people who won’t rent to them. It’s wedding photography and I think all the couple should have done was say, “Screw you then, we’ll give our money to somebody else,” and then paid for some less homophobic company to capture their memorable day forever. I can’t imagine they were the only photographers available in town.
I’m also going to say that I think consumers need to do more research into the companies they want to deal with and maybe this couple was right to want to make an example of the Huguenins. If their beliefs are going to be getting in the way of doing their job, then perhaps they should either switch beliefs or switch jobs.
Another article about the case quotes Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, who tries to make the case that this is still more evidence of religious “rights” being whittled away:
“I think this case illustrates a disturbing trend that we’re seeing in general, which is a shrinking of religious liberty and [a shrinking] of the area in which we can act on our religious convictions to only the four walls of our homes or the four walls of our churches,”
he warns, but NEWS FLASH! Religion needs to be pulled out of the public areas. It really needs to be. Keep the public areas secular and be as religious as you want to be at home and your church. The rest of the city/province/state/country should be kept religion free so no group gets preferential treatment and no group winds up feeling slighted. Christians are used to assuming they ought to get preferential treatment but that’s an assumption that needs to be set aside as places get more and more multicultural. I know many Christians think they ought to be allowed to convert everyone they see so the whole world is Christian like they are, but tough tits. People are allowed to hold other religious beliefs. Including no religious beliefs. Laws and ethics and morality can be built up and upheld without resorting to what people think some god thinks.
I’m just throwing all that out there. What about readers? What are your thoughts here?