The issues surrounding services regarding gay weddings have bought up many issues. The line must be drawn! People need to know whether they have liberty or whether people can harass or oppress people using ‘anti-discrimination’ laws. Some look at this issue similar to people not servicing black people in the 1950’s. This really is shallow thinking and everyday people and the legal profession need to go deeper and look at first principals.
The argument seems to be that if you offer goods and/or services as a business, then you have to accept all consumers. Some might limit that to you cannot deny the goods or service (discriminate) based on a set of protected classes of people or beliefs. Some believe in the protected class idea and want to add many classes to the list. Either way this can cause many problems.
A clear line needs to be drawn, and I contend that the line is that both parties to any trade must agree with the trade. Business owners should have the full right to discern whether they should offer a good or service to anyone. While the vast majority of people might find some discernment reprehensible and others totally proper and acceptable, the decision MUST stay with both parties agreeing with the trade.
If a wedding photographer has to take all couples that request their service, consider a few exemptions that they could be morally and socially justified to decline. Let’s say that a wedding photographer wanted to specialize on the Jewish wedding. He is Jewish and loves the Jewish traditions surrounding weddings. He studied everything he could in regard to Jewish weddings and became the wedding planners’ best asset at a Jewish wedding.
If someone requested his service at a non-Jewish wedding, should he be allowed to say no, because he specializes in and wants to concentrate only on Jewish weddings? This applies to all photographers that want to specialize and not become a jack of all types and never an expert in one type. Yes, this could be denying based on religion, however, in most people minds, very acceptable. This is subjective, thus not conducive to law.
What if a photographer signed a contract with a man and a woman for a full package of wedding pictures which included an engagement photo shoot? They are at a very secluded and beautiful back yard with no one else around. They do a few shots and the photographer goes to the car to switch out the lens and when he returns the couple are fully nude and ready for the next pose, stating that it is going to be a nude wedding. The photographer is shocked and says he does not do nude pictures and tells them the contract is void and returns the money.
Should the couple be able to sue the photographer and put him out of business for discrimination? Nude weddings are legal. Just like in the gay wedding, it should not matter if there is a deeply held religious objection to this, simply that both sides say yes . Most people can fully understand, and the social norm is that someone can deny service when they object to how that service is done, whether it is in immoral or undesirable ways. These are highly subjective and not conducive to law.
If the discernment is widely held to be reprehensible, such as based on skin color, it is very likely that most people that are of the favored skin color would shun that business because they do not want to do business with a bigot. However, there are countless circumstances that reasonable people could fully understand and even applaud the moral discernment to deny service. I will bring up many scenarios to show the problems that could arise under the, ‘you cannot deny service to anyone’ policy.
Too often people try to argue ‘deeply held religious beliefs’ as a way to be legally allowed to deny service. That is a very bad policy and legally very problematic. Everyone can have their own thoughts and should not have to prove them through religious dogma. Some might take religious beliefs into consideration when they determine whether the discernment is morally out of bounds and in need of shunning, but this is highly subjective and not conducive to law.
A person walks in to a modeling studio and looks though many pages of models. The person picks a model and sets up a photo shoot. Only after arriving does she realize that nudity is involved. She tries to back out and is told that she would be sued for discrimination if she did.
The courts get involved and the model is fined $100,000 for discrimination. She is told that the no-nudity clause in the contract is discrimination. She is told that only if she can prove that she has a deeply held religious belief against doing a nude photo shoot would she be able to object. This is sadly similar to much of the judicial madness in the courts these days.
The Westboro Baptist Church states that they hate gays. This very small (less than 10) group is repulsive to not just Baptists but 99.9% of people in Christian faiths. If they wanted to harass a catering business known to employ gay people, is it okay to deny this repulsive groups request to cater a ‘gay hating’ rally?
Should the KKK be allowed to force by law a black acting group to accept the job of acting out a lynching as the people in sheets laugh and mock. The black acting group advertises that they will take all jobs, however, never expected that hate groups would hire them just to harass them. Should they be forced or be sued out of business?
Gay couples demanding that a Bible believing church should ‘marry’ them is harassment of the church. Someone does not have to go far to find a person to ‘marry’ a gay couple, not that distance is the defining issue here. However, should a Bible believing church be forced to accept all comers wishing to be married in their church and furthermore, require a pastor to conduct the service?
The state, all three branches, are very inadequate in determining whether a religion ‘really’ believes certain things. Could the courts decide one denomination must perform the wedding because the belief is not deep enough, while others are allowed to deny because they believe deeper? This is also very subjective and not conductive to law.
All of the above are relevant in the hiring process as well. Subjectivity is just as relevant and is simply not conducive to law. Who you are allowed to hire is also very important. Can you discern, even within the protected classes? Is it every okay, or ethically believed by the majority to deny hiring within the protected classes?
Could a Chinese restaurant hire mostly Chinese looking people to keep the Chinese atmosphere? Is a well-known Christian leader who opens a restaurant with an openly Christian theme allowed to hire only Christians? Could they limit their banquet hall to only, in their opinion, Christian events?
Could a OBGYN doctor’s office just hire female staff members because, in their opinion, some women appreciate only women in that type of doctor’s office? Other OBGYN’s could hire a mixed staff, and some appreciate that, however, understand that the other office’s all female policy is morally okay.
Could a gym be all guys or all gals? Some men know they have issues with seeing great looking women in tights and choose not to be tempted, thus decide to go to an all male gym. Some women really dislike ‘being on display’ in their tights as they work out, or are unhappy with their body type and really appreciate an all-woman gym.
Could any restaurant that opens up for parties deny a group because, in their opinion, that group might bring a bad reputation to the restaurant? A country bar might have to fight, mostly unfairly, the stereotype of being anti-black, thus would want to deny a meeting of an anti-black group renting the place for a party or rally. The examples here are very numerous.
Going off track a little but still very related are laws requiring medical insurance to cover controversial products and services. Contraceptives are just one of many. Some claim religious beliefs, however, it should not matter if you are a church, related to a church, a Christian yourself, or a non-believer.
A Broadway play surrounding Martin L. King’s life is interviewing for the star roll of M.L.K.. You have three people apply for the job, an 80-year-old white woman in a wheel chair, a 14-year-old Hindu pregnant Asian girl, and a 38-year-old black man. Most people will think it is totally proper to discriminate in favor of male over female, 38-year-old versus much younger or older, black skin versus white or Asian, not pregnant versus pregnant, able to walk versus disabled and Christian versus Hindu.
While this case seems very straightforward for the obvious reasons why discrimination should be allowed, many others are more subjective, thus not conducive to law. The US Constitution addresses this and overrides US statutory law. Freedom of Association is a fundamental right and extends to associations of employee/ employer and associations of business contracts. The Civil Right Act in the 1960’s should have just addressed the main culprit of discrimination, which was government. The free enterprise system was way ahead of government in integration of the races, and allowing social norms to correct the problems would have brought racial harmony much quicker than government force. Free enterprise has a much better record of inclusion than government control.