Skip to comments.Reserving the right to refuse service (Is it a violation of the constitution and human rights?)
Posted on 08/23/2013 8:20:30 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
In yet another topic sure to enrage, Sterling Beard – writing at The Corner – catches up with the latest news on a strange case coming to us from New Mexico. It’s now gone all the way to the state Supreme Court, and the story may be at an end. In case you hadn’t heard, wedding photographers can’t refuse to take pictures at a gay wedding or they have violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act.
The court found that Elane Photographys 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 persons sexual orientation, according to the ruling.
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 nations strengths, demands no less.
AP covered this story when it hit the last level in the courts, but it’s one of those areas of the law that always leave me scratching my head. When you’re talking about services provided by the government, there’s no question in cases like this. The government can’t refuse to grant a drivers license or a fishing license or what have you to somebody just because they are Jewish or black or gay or female, etc. Everyone pays for the government and everyone is entitled to equal treatment and availability of services offered. Simple enough. But what of the private sector?
When you raise the specter of “reserving the right to refuse service” in private enterprise, one of the first images evoked is the famous Whites Only Lunch Counter. Now, if you are one of the hardest of the hard core, Big L Libertarians, you’ll claim that this is still too great of an intrusion of government control on private enterprise. The argument goes that the owner will prosper or suffer as a result of the policy as the market dictates. Black diners clearly need to eat, so other competition will rise to fill that vacuum. And in the extreme case, enough people will be angered by the policy that the restricted lunch counter will be driven out of business. It’s the Invisible Hand in action.. it either high fives your or smacks you down.
But still, that image makes many, many people feel extremely uncomfortable. Maybe the government has to step in. But if they do, the policy seems to be rather selectively enforced, doesn’t it? How about when Hooters refuses to serve anyone who is a Mayor who is a serial sexually inappropriate actor? How do eateries refuse service to people with no shirt or no shoes if it’s not illegal to go barefoot or without a top? (For men, at least.) For a less silly example, how about when many cemeteries refused to bury the body of the Boston Marathon bomber? Funeral homes tend to frequently be smaller, family run operations just like photography studios, often run out of people’s homes. Could they be sued for refusing service? If so, I never heard of anyone suggesting it. But in this case, because the photographer turned down the job for a gay wedding, they have now lost in court at every level and will pay for it in cash.
This may be the wrong side of the law here, but I’m left pondering one comment I saw on Twitter shortly after this news came out.
I’m not even one of the people who oppose gay marriage, as many of you know by now, but this story just seems wrong. I suppose this is why I’m not a lawyer.
Any business should be able to refuse service to someone.
Liberals believe in freedom. Their freedom to use the government to force you to do their bidding.
I believe its a constitutional infringement to force private business to serve people they would rather not short of life and death matters.
In fact I think exclusion is actually good for businesses of those who don’t discriminate. If there was a klan owned restaurant that didn’t serve blacks, I would love to own the restaurant across the street that serves anyone.
Am the only one who sees the irony in this?
Activist judges are out of control. If there were ever an example of one of Levin’s amendments, this is clearly one of them.
And the perverts couldn’t just find another photographer?
does the New Mexico Human Rights Act override the first amendment of the Constitution?
So when are all the muslim taxi cab drivers going to be forced to provide services to people with service dogs, to people with alcohol, to single women, and to gay couples?
“A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nations strengths,”
Does this also include the ferel savages running about these days?
People who aspire to these positions like justices of courts show that a little education can be a dangerous thing.
“A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nations strengths, demands no less.
The judge-dork keeps using those words.
I do not thin’ they mean what he thins it means.
(Remember when a Juris Doctorate at least increased the probability that the owner had a measurable IQ?)
You just made my head hurt; trying to wrap it around the idea of “we must be exclusive of your ideas in order to be inclusive of ideas”.
I need a drink...
The smoking ban in Michigan bars is another example of dictatorial government imposing laws when the free market could have created wealth out of the issue.
Rather than encouraging non smokers to open bars of their own, government dictates that all must exclude smokers.
And THAT is the entire issue. The Constitution is a contract between the people and the government which proposes to govern them. It is not a contract between individual citizens. Everyone has the right to access public streets, but no one has a right to occupy my property. The list goes on and on....
He said “You can force me to go onstage, but you cannot force me to be funny.”
They can force them to take pictures, but he can just overexpose them or catch the subjects in foolish poses.
They cannot force him or her to do a good job. They should require full payment up front.
The reason why the idiot libertarian argument doesn’t work re segregated restaurants in the South is because it ignores reality: had another restaurant or diner opened nearby the segregated one, and served blacks and whites equally, it would have been bombed or set on fire. Plus whites wouldn’t have patronized it. It is a historical fact that the racist negro-phobia was what controlled the social order then - whites who ignored or flouted it put their own lives at risk.
The oppressed black thing has no application to the gays as bullies situation. The fact is that homosexuals are the dominant force in all the aesthetic businesses - fashion, design, decor, event planning, food service, etc. You’d have to look hard to find a non-homosexual vendor of these services - unless you are way deep in a rural area.
Presumably then I should be forced to take pictures of orgy weddings, weddings between siblings, plural marriages, naked weddings, and Satanic weddings?