Thursday, September 26, 2013

Equal Rights

Alex Roarty in The Atlantic wonders if gay-rights laws are trampling on freedom of religion.

Conservatives may have found another way to stem the rising tide of rights for America’s gays and lesbians. Rather than a frontal assault on the constitutionality of, say, same-sex marriage, they’re taking another tack — asserting that their own civil rights are violated when they’re forced to treat gay couples like straight ones.

Take the case of Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, co-owners of a small Albuquerque, New Mexico, photography company. Last month, the New Mexico Supreme Court determined the couple had acted illegally in 2006 when they refused to take pictures of a commitment ceremony (held in lieu of a still-illegal marriage) between a gay couple. Noting that state law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, the state court decreed that accommodating different types of people was the “price of citizenship” in America.

It was yet another victory for gay-rights advocates, who have watched public opinion swell in their favor in recent years. But to the Hugeunins and those who have rallied to their cause, the case represents something else: a rare opportunity to shift public opinion in the other direction.

The Huguenins argue being forced to photograph the ceremony amounted to a persecution of their faith and an infringement on their First Amendment rights. “This idea that people in America can be compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives as the ‘price of citizenship’ is an unbelievable attack on freedom,” Jim Campbell, an attorney for the Huguenins, told National Journal. “Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin were simply trying to live their lives and operate their business in accordance with their faith.”

No, treating other people like shit because your mythology and bigotry says you should is not an excuse or a right.  You can believe whatever you want, but when you open a business to the public, then you have no expectation of exclusion.

On the other hand, the Huguenins could open a megachurch and discriminate against whomever they choose.  Not only that, the money’s better.

3 barks and woofs on “Equal Rights

  1. When the Huguenins go shopping for clothes, groceries, or go to the doctor, there’s a big chance some of the people helping them are gay. Is that against their religion too? If they were trapped in a burning house, would they refuse to be rescued by a gay firefighter? Exactly how does taking photos of a social gathering impinge on their religion?

    OT, but neat news! Jeremy Hooper (good as you. com) and his husband have a baby daughter!

  2. My primary care doc is gay. He mentioned it to me one day after one of our occasional political chats (he’s a Democrat), but I had figured it out long before. My doc is also an exceptionally astute diagnostician; he is the one who determined that my ankle infection was likely deep-seated enough to threaten my life. Thanks to him, I am alive today… minus one foot, but very glad to be alive.

    I wonder if the Huguenins’ homophobia extends to being willing to die of sepsis to avoid interactions with gay people…

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