“You will be made to care.”


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“You will be made to care.”

The totalitarian instincts of the gay rights movement and its enablers on the left reveal themselves.

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32 comments

  • wodun

    I don’t think gay people are evil, which could be the implication in the closing paragraph.

    It is tricky to balance everyone’s rights. No easy solutions.

  • There was no reason for the gay couple to insist that this particular photographer photograph their wedding. The couple had plenty of choices of photographers who did not have a religious reason to object.

    But no, they had to force their will on these people. And now the New Mexico court has agreed. It is all right to oppress Christians for the sake of gays. More precisely, it is all right to oppress Christians in order to empower gay rights and beliefs over everyone else.

    At no point did I say gays are evil. That you try to imply it simply means you wish to discredit me in order to shut me up. I will not be shut up. What is evil here are the oppressive demands that now dominate the political left and the gay rights movement. And that most gays are willing to stand back and let that oppression occur condemns them in my eye.

    Jack-booted thugs are jack-booted thugs.

  • wodun

    I was referring to the linked article not you.

  • Edward

    When I was in college, the people in my residence hall patted themselves on the back for being intolerant only of intolerance. That was their phrase.

    Strangely, it was those who did not agree with their opinions who were the intolerant ones.

    Tolerance was one way even back then.

  • Ah, I’m glad, though that doesn’t change my thoughts. My fury at this oppression rises by the day.

  • Patrick Ritchie

    Wow, what an appalling story. What a mess.

    I’m appalled that the photographer refused to provide her services.

    I’m appalled that the client filed a lawsuit in response to the refusal.

    I’m appalled by the judges ruling.

    Having said that, this the whole thing makes me somewhat uncomfortable. What if it was a photographer who refused to photograph a black wedding or a jewish wedding? What if it was a restaurant instead of a photography studio? A hospital?

  • R. Cotour

    At what point and for what reason could the photographer refuse their services as per the state? Where is the line? If the people who were getting married said that at the end of the ceremony their “religion” specifies that both people being married were to jointly kill a goat or a pair of chickens and they were to drink their blood to signify their joining and they would require the photographer to capture that moment. Would that be reason enough for the state to allow the photographer to decline service? Could two people from a coven of witches that entered the photographers shop require that the Christian photographer shoot their wedding? Just be cause they asked?

    Where is the line as per the state? Would posting a sign stating the photographers affiliation or criteria for service be enough to repel a law suit from anyone who came into their shop? Where does this string lead? I would assume that all photographers and associated businesses in the state would be thinking about these questions.

  • Pzatchok

    What happened to the signs on business fronts that said

    No Shirt
    No shoes
    No service
    We reserve the right to refuse you service for any reason.

  • R. Cotour

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Worried they could be sued by gay couples, some churches are changing their bylaws to reflect their view that the Bible allows only marriage between one man and one woman.

    Although there have been lawsuits against wedding industry businesses that refuse to serve gay couples, attorneys promoting the bylaw changes say they don’t know of any lawsuits against churches.

    Critics say the changes are unnecessary, but some churches fear that it’s only a matter of time before one of them is sued.

  • No pants? That’s okay.

  • The law is the wrong weapon to use against bigots, especially when the market economy does such a better job anyway. The whole wedding photography industry could do with a shake up. Where’s the Starbucks and McDonalds of wedding photography? You’ll never see them refusing to serve blacks/jews/gays/etc, and it’s not because these megacorps are “more enlightened”, it’s because they can’t afford to discriminate. This is the invisible hand at it’s finest.

  • Patrick Ritchie

    Although I generally endorse where you’re coming from, this seems like an overly idealized view of markets.

    Markets can, and do remain in un-rational states for long periods of time. One of the things governments _are_ good for is stepping in and defending the rights and freedoms of it’s citizens when there is a market failure. In these cases the law is the exact right weapon to use against bigots.

  • Pzatchok

    Not when they had other viable if not better outlets.

    They had no reason to use this business other than to push their lifestyle on the owners.
    They had every right and chance to go anyplace else. Its not like they lived in a one photographer town.

    No they used the bully pulpit of their own to hammer their beliefs over anothers head. Just to make a point.

    How would they like it if I booked a KKK wedding inside one of their establishments? Or the skinheads decided to hold their weekly rallies in their shops?
    they wouldn’t like it at all and would get the whole of the gay community to physically force the offensive group out or block their access.
    Never once thinking they were now the fascists. the bigots and oppressors.

    Its just like their attack against the BoyScouts.
    The Gay community knew it could NEVER start an openly gay scout master group. Who would send their children to it? So they forced an already established private group to accept their lifestyle so they could eventually take over the group.
    They didn’t morally defeat the BSA they monetarily beat them. They forced a Religious group to accept them even though their life style is against their religion. Thus they will have forced that group to drop its religious affiliations. Because without that one religious standard it shouldn’t have ANY religious standards.
    Next they will be taking the Catholic church of America to court to force them to accept gay ceremonies inside the church. That will happen inside 5 years. Remember this day and that I said it. It will happen.

    Sorry but the market place is the way to weed out the less desirable establishments from a community. It reflects how open and accepting a community is if it doesn’t avoid that establishment because of one little belief.
    I don’t avoid an establishment because the owner is gay or because and owner doesn’t believe in that lifestyle. I avoid the establishment because of crappy service or products. The same with color, nationality or religion.
    Unless you think it would be right to force the Kosher deli to start carrying my favorite ham and the corner store up the street to start carrying my bible even though the owner if Muslim. Or even the African ethnic store to start carrying KKK publications and new white robes.

  • Publius 2

    I am wondering what would have happened if the photographer had been a Muslim. Would the lawsuit have proceeded, and would the court have ruled in the complainants’ favor? Yes, these are difficult issues, but the test of whether a group is sincere in promoting its belief in human rights can be evaluated by the amount of determination it displays in pursuing a case against a Muslim individual or organization. If not, they reveal themselves as part of the leftist movement’s efforts to impose their agenda on American Christians and conservatives.

  • Bob Simmons

    Bob, as a gay man I would like to think I could purchase coffee, a car, a website or a wedding photographer without being refused service simply because I’m gay. I would would be horrified if a Christian business refused to serve me (not to mention what a horribly poor approach to ministry that would be). When I ran my own web design company I would’ve never considered refusing to work with a client simply because they’re straight (or Christian, Jewish, Muslim or anything else). On a personal level, I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am to see someone I consider a friend defend the idea that I should be refused service from a business simply because of my sexual orientation. And now I’m a ‘jack booted thug’, too.

  • I would be glad to discuss this at length with you personally. I strongly believe in freedom, which also includes the right of gays to be themselves. It also includes, however, the freedom to associate with whom you wish. Just as some cavers prefer smaller cave groups, some Christians should have the right to not associate with gays. I would strongly disagree with these Christians about this, but I would also support their right to avoid those they dislike.

    Consider: would you force a Jewish synagogue to accept NAZI sympathizers as members? Shouldn’t they have the right to refuse certain people membership?

    And even better analogy: Would you want to be forced to create a webpage for an anti-gay group? Shouldn’t you have the right to refuse them service?

    The gay rights community is making a very big mistake here. If it continues down this road, they will lose the support of many people, such as I, who do not oppose gay rights in the slightest.

  • JGL

    You will comply!

    This is fundamental change.

  • Pzatchok

    What if it was a Muslim sight promoting the hanging of gays in Iran?
    Along with promoting other good things about Islam like helping other Muslims through charity.

    I wouldn’t expect you to work with them and I would stand by your right to refuse them service.

  • Bob Simmons

    I know you to be a thoughtful and more nuanced person, so the simplistic binary analogies you offer don’t suit you. The first is just silly. No one, anywhere, would suggest a synagogue should accept Nazis. Really, Bob? As for not taking on an anti-gay group as a client, I might refuse under certain circumstances (there were several potential clients I chose not to work with), but just to be clear, I did create a website for a church that had clearly stated anti-gay opinions. I did it because I thought it more important to have that dialog with them. To their credit, they didn’t discriminate against me, either, in hiring a gay web developer. The relationship was productive on both sides. In search of nuance, I suppose a wedding photographer could state at the outset they only photograph Christian, God-approved unions, and that photographer could work exclusively within their chosen community. But when a business enters the marketplace it operates with an obligation to serve the public fairly. Sexual orientation isn’t specifically protected federally, but many individual states protect the LGBT community, and individual cases usually turn on issues of whether or not the discrimination was arbitrary against a class. Given that, if the gay couple seeking a wedding photographer behaved very badly or did something that might cause a photographer to refuse service, fine. I can even imagine a gay photographer refusing to serve a badly behaving gay couple. but if the photographer simply refuses service to all gays, then yeah, I think that’s unlawful and should be. That, from a non-lawyer. On the personal side, however, if a business operating in the public marketplace told me they weren’t going to serve me simply because I’m gay, you betcha I’m going to consider suing them. You betcha.One final note – reducing this to an act of the “gay rights community” is too much of a reduction. We don’t attribute the actions of Fred Phelps to the “Christian rights community” do we? Of course not. We recognize that individuals do many things for many reasons. It’s just life.

  • JGL

    “Ms. Huguenin and her husband declined to provide their services because they are Christians and the orthodox tenets of their faith tell them that marriage is between a man and a woman. ”

    There was no discrimination based on them being gay, it was apparently based on the photographers religious beliefs.

    While you make a good argument in relation to a public business providing services to the public there is a distinction to be made as to what has driven the “discrimination” in this case.

  • Hi Bob,

    I really don’t think our disagreement here is very large.

    1. I can give you several recent examples of Christian college clubs that were told by their colleges that they had to accept non-Christians as members and even officers. Here one. In several cases (not the one cited) the demand was for the Christian club to accept gays.

    2. The issue for me is the use of force. In all these stories, I always look first at who is using force to impose their point of view. In my original post, the story was about a gay couple and the state of New Mexico using the force of law to make someone do something that is against their personal religious views.

    As I said in another comment, that gay couple had plenty of other choices. There was no need to impose their will on this particular business.

  • Pzatchok

    Exactly what do you mean by ” could work exclusively within their chosen community”?

    Do you mean that they must work only with clients inside their church congregation?
    Only with clients in their same denomination?
    Only with denominations that do not espouse views against his?
    Only religions that agree with his?

    At what point does he move from the so called closed marketplace you want him to only work in and out into the open marketplace?

    And by your philosophy couldn’t the gay community just keep inside their own communities and not move out into the public marketplace?

    Hmm, doesn’t sound so nice when you turn it around like that.

    And why did you turn down those clients that you did?

    Would you turn down the KKK or skin heads?
    How about this a black guy Ayo Kimathi http://www.waronthehorizon.com/? He could claim you turned him down because he was black and he had no idea you were gay.

  • Patrick Ritchie

    So are you saying that if the photographer was the only one in town then the gay couple would be in the right?

    What if the business in question was a restaurant? Or a taxi driver? Or a hospital?

  • Bob Simmons

    JGL – I appreciate that you’ve brought a finer point to the discrimination issue, and I see what you’re saying. It may be splitting hairs a little, though, because really, the net result is the same. I’d also concede I have compassion for the dilemma faced by a Christian photographer struggling with this issue. I don’t see any reason to assume anti-gay sentiments, per se, were at the heart of the issue. I’d take them at their word that this is simply about religious beliefs. And I suspect both sides in this case were out to make a point.

    Patrick Richie above made my followup argument better than I would’ve. I’d just say ditto.

  • Edward

    Bob Simmons,

    I find it interesting that you allowed yourself to choose not to work with some potential clients, yet you don’t seem to want to allow that same right to others. I think that there is a word to describe that. I certainly hope that your choice to not work with those people was living up to your stated “obligation to serve the public fairly.” I also hope that I may choose my own values, rather than be forced to live by yours. This is supposed to be/was a free country, after all.

    Everyone should be equally equal, there should not be those who are more equal than others.

    It was the plaintiffs of the lawsuit who made this an issue of the “gay rights community,” not Robert or his commenters. The plaintiffs were the ones who chose the arguments to use in court.

    The freedoms of religion and expression are so important in this country that they are protected in the FIRST article of the Bill of Rights. I think that this important amendment has suffered yet another blow by our government.

  • Bob Simmons

    Edward, I possibly didn’t make myself clear, so I hope you’ll forgive me that I may have rushed a bit through the above point. Let me clarify, there is no obligation in a service business to take on every single client. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to decline work, among them, conflicts of interest, artistic differences, scheduling conflicts, or a simple lack of technical resources. But never in business did I refuse work based on a demographic metric such as race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality or the like. To address another person’s similar point, were a skinhead group come to my company for web work I would certainly at least have considered taking the work on. As I stated above, I have done work for at least one client who was in open opposition to my personal values. I would do it again. To me, these can be deeply enriching opportunities for people of different values to find common cause (like the conversation we’re having right now). I certainly wouldn’t refuse work with skinheads outright, simply because of a preconception about who skinheads are. I think the same should apply to wedding photographers.

    But… I’m still considering JGL’s point that the purely religious component (marriage = man + woman) deserves separate consideration from the purely demographic component (sad gay couple has to go find another wedding photog).

    Bob Z – I apologize for inadvertently stirring up things on your blog. I don’t for a second consider you someone who would promote discrimination against the LGBT community. Nothing I’ve written should be construed that way. I just wish you wouldn’t refer to it as totalitarianism or the work of jack-booted thugs. Let’s talk about it in a cave some time soon. In the meantime, I’ll bow out of this conversation.

  • No need to apologize. I am proud of the fact that these kinds of discussions can occur here in a civil manner.

  • Pzatchok

    They could have just lied, wasted everyones time and said it was because of artistic differences.

    They could have just taken those days off and claimed it was a planned vacation.

    But no they decided to be honest and now they are being punished for that action alone.

    All this does is teach the rest of the world they just need to find new and creative ways to lie to each other.

    Its that freedom of association thing.

  • JGL

    I deal with the public every day and as a general policy all ism’s no longer exist as soon as you walk through my door. Color, race, religion, sexual orientation all disappear. And if I detect that you do feel uncomfortable because you are “different” I pay more attention to you so you understand that you are welcome. This all works because there are expectations of mutual respect, it is transmitted to you when you enter. I rarely have problems and I deal with the entire spectrum of the population. I believe that that is a good policy philosophy for any business to adopt.

    After thinking about this specific issue I think that the photographer who I assume has a store front and is open to the walk in public would have to distinguish themselves as being specifically photographers of Christian oriented events, possibly exclusively, in an obvious way before a customer entered their business for them to have prevailed in court. If the owners right off the bat said to the potential customer that because they were gay as the specific reason for refusal of service that is where their problem lies. There are other more subtle ways, such as scheduling conflicts for example, of bowing out of a particular job you would rather not do, for what ever reason. It may be less honest, but you are in business, you do not always speak your mind to the public as though you were sitting at your dinner table. Ignore this fact and you are more likely to be in court.

    Should an individual business owner be able to pass on a job because it is offensive to them? Yes, I refer to the blood rights example. Should a Voodoo priestess who might want to have photographed the killing of a chicken and the drinking of its blood in a religious ceremony be able to sue the photographer for refusal of service based on religious discrimination? No, some photographers may find the practice offensive and would rightly refuse the job based on that, thats reasonable. But I guarantee you that the voodoo priestess would find someone willing to capture the moment eventually, just like the gay couple did.

    The issue here is when the government is asked to weigh a situation like this where one persons rights to refuse service based on their their religious beliefs and another persons right to same sex marriage and being treated equally are pitted against one another. And depending on the specific details of how you were refused may play an important roll in whether you prevail in court or not or whether you would be sued at all.

    I think the photographer handled the situation improperly and not as a business person who should be aware of the legalities of operating the kind of open to the public business they are involved in.

  • Garry

    This is not quite the same as, say, a restaurant refusing service; wedding photography is a very intimate service. Most wedding photography studios are Mom and Pop operations, and it’s not unusual for a photographer to spend 12 hours or more with the client on their wedding day, which is why the good ones take only one wedding per day.

    The long hours often start with behind the scenes shots of the bride getting ready. The day can be very emotional for the photographer. A good wedding photographer works hard to put people in the right mood; capturing joy on film sometimes requires the photographer to help create or sustain the joy. This isn’t always easy; brides are known to fall to pieces when even small things don’t go as planned.

    Unless you’re after shots that anybody can get (in which case you’d be better off giving the guests disposable cameras or telling them to use their iphone cameras), the chemistry has to be right between the photographer and the couple, and proper mood is essential to getting any good shot of people. I can understand a photographer not wanting to take certain clients because the chemistry isn’t there. Without even getting into the religious aspects, I can understand the point of view that “I’ll probably be grossed out by the first kiss, and that might get in the way of my getting a good shot.” No good photographer wants any substandard photos out there.

    The photographers could have handled the situation better, but understand that this isn’t the same as refusing to serve somebody a hamburger or sell them a bicycle.

  • JGL

    All solid and valid points about the intricacies of being an excellent photographer. I think where this particular case goes is understanding the differences between an individual and an individuals rights to be dealt with in a fare and unbiased manner in a public business and an individual who also has rights but has chosen to modify their status by offering their services in the form of a business open to the public. If you choose to tell a person that you are unwilling to do business with them because they are gay, even if that is the truth, you are going to have problems.

    A business owner has a modified rights status when they are operating their business and IMO must become more objective rather than subjective as it relates what they will and will not be willing to participate in. Sometimes you have to finesse your way around some issues. If you are unable to do this then maybe you should be working for someone who can.

    Opinions on this subject are usually given in the context of a vacuum as it relates to government forcing or penalizing someone to do something which appears to violate their rights and not in the context of two human beings attempting to communicate without causing one to leave and call their lawyer, especially in todays volatile political environment.

  • Edward

    First, let me thank Robert for providing a forum in which I can *finally* have a civil discussion without insults and bad feelings. This is a rare and refreshing place. And thank you Bob for being civil on a topic that usually evokes such bad feelings.

    Unfortunately we do seem to feel self-pressured to make our comments brief enough that people will read them, and that can result in confusion due to lost clarity, meaning, or understanding.

    I see this more than just a sad couple who has to find a new photographer. I see freedoms being denied to the shopkeeper. There are religious freedoms involved, and at the risk of someone invoking Godwin’s Law, there is a word for a government that regulates business to the extent that it has few choices in how it conducts its business. The US is rapidly filling with these types of regulations and has been for decades. This is yet another nail in the coffins of free religion and of free enterprise.

    There clearly is a conflict between two parties, and that is the jurisdiction of the courts. The court has clearly chosen to be “fair” to the less injured party.

    We must be careful about fairness. A quarter century ago, I was helping solve a dispute involving low-cost student housing. I was in the minority on the final decision, but now the students who live in that low cost facility pay about $200 per year more than if we had been “unfair” to the students who lived there way back then. To whom did we end up being unfair? Thousands of students who needed low cost housing in order to go to college have had to pay more than if we had decided differently. Bad decisions are difficult to reverse – even obviously bad decisions are far, far more difficult than one would think.

    How is reduced freedom fairer than allowing a group to have a slightly larger pool of businesses to choose from?

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