Gay rights have been an issue for some time now. Discriminating against a person because of their sexual orientation has sparked several new debates in our society. So what sparked the Supreme Court to deny the appeal of a gay bias case in New Mexico?
David G. Savage reported on Monday that an appeal from Elaine Huguenin, a photographer in New Mexico, claimed a free-speech right to refuse to shoot a wedding album for a same-sex couple. This caused the business owners of “Elane Photography” to be charged with violating the state’s anti-discrimination law. The law requires businesses to serve customers and clients without regard to their race, religion or sexual orientation.
Huguenin said she had taken photos of weddings that are more traditional but if she took pictures of a wedding of two women, it would violate her religious beliefs. The two women filed charges against the business owners were Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth. So why would the Supreme Court choose not to pursue the appeal? According to US News, the court felt that the photographers had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.
Willock’s attorneys, made it clear that Huguenin discriminated against the couple and violated the Human Rights Act in New Mexico. "The law simply says: Whatever service you provide, you must not discriminate against customers when you engage in public commerce," the lawyers said about the case. "Moreover, when the company sells its goods and services to the general public, it is not a private actor engaged in the expression of its own message. Customers do not pay for the privilege of facilitating the company's message."
Slate's Mark Joseph Stern shared his thoughts on the case, stating that it was way “too messy” for the Supreme Court to get involved with because of several issues. "By my count, it involves at least four separate issues: Hybrid rights [i.e., free speech rights combined with free exercise rights]; compelled speech; photography-as-speech; and a religious objection to anti-discrimination statutes. It's just too much for one case." Stern said.
Due to the rejected appeal on Monday, Jorden Lorence of Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian nonprofit organization said he felt disappointed about how the courts handled the situation. On the National Review blog, he expressed his feelings that people’s faith and beliefs doesn’t matter anymore. "Today’s actions by the Supreme Court may unfortunately embolden some to expand their efforts to punish and humiliate publicly those who believe marriage is defined only as one man and one woman," Lorence said.
So did the Supreme Court make the right choice? Will this delay a bigger battle waiting to happen? Until we decide to get along with everyone no matter what, we’ll just have to wait and see.