Skip to comments.“It is the Price of Citizenship”?—An Elegy for Religious Liberty in America
Posted on 09/01/2013 7:53:16 AM PDT by rhema
MONDAY August 26, 2013
Anyone who still doubts that the normalization of homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage will represent a seismic shift in the culture at large needs only to look to New Mexico to see that nothing less than religious liberty is now under threatand in a big way.
Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin are the owners of Elane Photography, a firm that operates as a commercial photographic studio. Elaine is the lead photographer and the Huguenins together run the business. In 2006, the couple refused to photograph a same-sex couples commitment ceremony and were sued. Last week the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that the Huguenins had violated the human rights of the same-sex couple and that the First Amendment does not allow Elane Photography to refuse to photograph same-sex unions.
The courts decision was unanimous, upholding a 2012 decision by an appeals court. The courts decision declared that the Huguenins had acted unlawfully in refusing to photograph the same-sex commitment, even when Elaine Huguenin had argued that to force her to photograph the celebration of a same-sex ceremony was to force her to function as a celebrant and thereby to violate her own conscience. That last part of the Huguenins argument has to do with the fact that photography is expressive as an art form. There is no way that photographing a same-sex ceremony would not require the professional photographer to arrange and construct photographs in order to artistically celebrate the same-sex union.
The court concluded: When Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the NMHRA [New Mexico Human Rights Act] in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races. The court then further concluded: Even if the services it offers are creative or expressive, Elane Photography must offer its services to customers without regard for the customers race, sex, sexual orientation, or other protected classification. Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin are Christians who believe that marriage is exclusively the union of a man and a woman. They further believe that they are responsible and faithful only if they avoid any explicit or implied endorsement of same-sex marriage. They insisted that they do not discriminate on the basis of the sexual orientation of the potential client, but only on the basis of the ceremony they are asked to photograph.
The New Mexico Supreme Court dismissed all of the arguments presented on behalf of the Hugueninsarguments that have a very clear precedent in decisions by other courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. The decision in this case by this court is both stark and strident, rejecting the reality that its holding forces a wedding photographer to make an artistic statement against a religious sentiment by supporting certain celebrations that the photographer in fact does not support. The courts ruling sets a very dangerous precedent: If a commercial photography business believes that the [New Mexico Human Rights Act] stifles its creativity, it can remain in business, but it can cease to offer its services to the public at large. Elane Photographys choice to offer its services to the public is a business decision, not a decision about its freedom of speech.
A business decision, but not a decision about freedom of speech? The New Mexico Supreme Courts ruling points to the comprehensive scope of the moral and legal realignment likely required by same-sex marriageand eagerly demanded by its proponents. The addition of sexual orientation as a denominator of a protected class was sufficient to drag the Huguenins before a court in a state that itself does not legally recognize same-sex marriage.
The most amazing language found in the decision of the New Mexico court is not in the main opinion but in the specially concurring opinion of Justice Richard C. Bosson.
Although Justice Bosson concurred with the decision against them, he seemed to understand the plight of the Huguenins:
As devout, practicing Christians, they believe, as a matter of faith, that certain commands of the Bible are not left open to secular interpretation; they are meant to be obeyed. Among these commands, according to the Huguenins, is an injunction against same-sex marriage. On the record before us, no one has questioned the Huguenins [sic] devoutness or their sincerity; their religious convictions deserve our respect. In the words of their legal counsel, the Huguenins believed that creating photographs telling the story of that event [a same-sex wedding] would express a message contrary to their sincerely held beliefs, and that doing so would disobey God. If honoring same-sex marriage would so conflict with their fundamental religious tenets . . . how then, they ask, can the State of New Mexico compel them to disobey God in this case? How indeed?
After asking exactly the right question, Justice Bosson then proceeded to give exactly the wrong answerand to give it in a way that is both elegiac in tone and tragic in result. Since Elane Photography is a business offering services to the public, it cannot operate on the basis of the Huguenins sincerely held Christian principles. According to Bosson, the New Mexico Human Rights Act trumps religious liberty rights when the two come into collision.
Justice Bosson then acknowledged that his reasoning is little comfort to the Huguenins, who are now compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives. Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering. It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views.
That language is breathtaking. Justice Bosson acknowledges that this decision will compel the Huguenins to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives. But, he insists, the State of New Mexico will compel them to do just that.
Then comes even more shocking language. Justice Bosson asserts: At its heart, this 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. So this is a matter of the justices balancing contrasting values? Compromise, Justice Bosson argues, is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the moving parts of us as a people. That compromise, Justice Bosson wrote, is just a fact of American life: In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship.
So the price of citizenship is the denial of religious liberty when the Christian convictions of this couple run into a head-on collision with the contrasting values of others. This is a compromise that requires the Huguenins to give up their convictions or go out of business. What does the compromise require of those who push for the normalization of same-sex relationships and the legalization of same-sex marriage? Nothing.
The same-sex couple in this case did not contest the fact that there were many other professional photographers available to them. Indeed, they hired another photographer after Elane Photography declined. But they still pressed for the force of law to require all commercial photographers to provide services for same-sex ceremonies. And they got what they demanded.
That is the true nature of the compromise that Justice Bosson argues is the price of citizenship. His language about the Huguenins and their plight is moving and respectful, almost an elegy. But the decision itself is a denial of religious liberty and the constitutional guarantees of religious expression and free speech.
Justice Bosson asserts that there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life. The New Mexico Supreme Court has now made clear that the price to be paid by many is the forfeiture of their religious liberty.
Should we conclude that if someone wanted to celebrate her abortion with a bright red cake, the baker would have to accept her order?
The rules are getting awfully selective about who can make a choice and what choices are permitted.
Once upon a time, commerce was mutually voluntary, or it wasn’t commerce.
However, there do exist people who hold sincere religious beliefs that marriage between people of different races is wrong. I've met some of them.
I personally disagree, but why should their sincere religious belief be awarded any less protection than that of the Huguenins?
That said, I think classifying the intimate personal contact required for a wedding photographer as equivalent to selling someone a meal in a restaurant is ludicrous.
It is the price of tyranny.
Someone please notify all the kosher and halal butchers in America that they must start processing and selling pork.
Be sure to tell all the Italian restaurants that they must sell Chinese food.
Please let all the mosques know that they must worship Christ.
All vegetarian establishments must also provide beef, pork and veal.
All veterinarians must also provide care for humans; and likewise, all licensed M.D.s must also treat animals.
Anyone who sells Christmas cards must also sell Eid cards, and if they do not have enough muslim customers, they must provide such cards free to local mosques so that they are “inclusive.”
Women’s dress shops must also sell men’s clothing.
Toys’R’Us must also sell sex toys.
Car dealers must also sell horses, and gas stations must sell hay.
It is the price of citizenship.
Unless there were no other photographers available this lawsuit must be a purely political and spiteful lawsuit. I would guess that the homosexual couples wedding went forward with another photographer and this lawsuit was a purely political lawsuit designed to set president.
In todays world where you can find someone willing to sell their services to anyone with the cash to pay for it a suit like this serves only one purpose; to punish anyone who is willing to stand up and say that there are moral absolutes and that they will publicly stand forth as say this is wrong.
So how do we initiate the implementation of these logical and thoughtful suggestions, and use the liberals' own stupid craptrap against them?
The Bill of Rights is dead, while it couldn’t be more clear that the current administration considers the constitution little more than an antiquated impediment on the road to absolute power.
Congress, meanwhile is little better than a rubber stamp, and the supreme court is toothless.
The Founders are, no doubt, spinning in their graves, while Americans obsess over television with their hands out and will only vote for the candidate who promises then the most abundant freebies.
No it isn't. The guy's a thug.
Forcing people to participate in a disgusting parody that is anathema to anyone except a deviant few is "civic duty"?
The price of citizenship is that Gay people must accept that not everyone accepts their chosen lifestyle. As long as the photographers are not persecuting them whose rights should be protected - those that actually exist such as freedom of association or those that are imagined by judges? This is not the same as serving food or renting an apartment but this is intimate contact being forced on the unwilling. That is a red line that should never be crossed.
“Someone please notify all the kosher and halal butchers in America that they must start processing and selling pork.
Please let all the mosques know that they must worship Christ.”
Somehow, I have this feeling that the halal butchers and mosques will never be forced to do anything they don’t want. As for the rest of us, that’s a different story.
And if not, please -- if you remember --- ping me when ou post Mohler, OK? He's certainly one of the most thoughtful and intelligent commentators out there.
It all comes from the Civil Rights fight in the 60s.
The judge in this case is some diddle head who graduated in 66 from GWU which was right in the middle of things back then.
He’s never gotten past that. He buys the idiot line that being a sexual deviant is some sort of protected right, that we can make no law against it nor refuse to include them in social life.
And like all spoiled, immature Baby Boomer brats, he wants to Make a Statement so he can be a big man, get his name in the history books as a Champion of the Downtrodden.
And the central point about the civil rights gig was the assertion by the courts that they could compel private behavior, not just interaction with the government.
That is what is REALLY Unconstituional.
He has no power to compel such a thing. NONE.