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Elane Photography Loses

Timothy Kincaid

April 12th, 2008

canon.jpg In February we told you about Elane Photography, a small company in New Mexico that is ran by Elaine Huguenin and her husband. In 2006, a lesbian couple had requested that Elane photograph their commitment ceremony and the Ms. Huguenin refused. Vanessa Willock, one of the couple, filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission.

The Las Cruces Sun-News has the results:

The commission’s one-page ruling Wednesday said Elane Photography violated the state Human Rights Act by discriminating against Willock on the basis of sexual orientation, and should pay $6,637 for Willock’s attorney’s fees and costs.

The commission found that Elane Photography, as a commercial business, provided a public accomodation and could not, under law, discriminate based on sexual orientation.

I have to admit that I’m a bit surprised at the determination and still have unanswered questions about the thinking that went into it. Because the company was primarily one individual I was expecting that the commission would allow for Ms. Huguenin’s religious objections.

I am troubled by the decision and am not certain whether or not I think this is the best conclusion.

On one hand, I recognize the value of the limitations that society has placed on the application of religious beliefs and can see the societal benefits that have resulted from anti-discrimination laws. I would not want a plumber, for example, using religious freedom as an excuse to deny services to a Muslim. And I don’t want to return to the day when a store can refuse service to someone solely because they are black or Jewish or gay.

But, on the other hand, I don’t think we are best served by forcing photographers to participate at same-sex commitment ceremonies and I am not convinced of the wisdom of laws that don’t allow for religious objections. I fear that legislatures that might be considering laws that protect gays and lesbians from discrimination will balk if they believe that individuals will be forced to participate in events that they find immoral or objectionable.

But the story is not yet over.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian organization that defends religious liberty, plans to appeal to state district court.

Comments

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Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2008 | LINK

Here’s a hypothetical. I am a writer. I’m actually thinking about trying to turn this into a career in a few years. I’ve already gotten one piece published in this month’s Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide. I may be interested in doing more.

So anyway, what if the AFA were to come along and seek to hire my services, and I turn them down because I find their religious beliefs abhorrent.

We have anti-discrimination laws in this country based on religious creed. Am I liable sanctions? According to this case, I am. And I see no difference.

You can count me on record as one who finds this development disturbing.

David
April 12th, 2008 | LINK

Tim and Jim,

You are both right to be disturbed by this ruling.

Perhaps now you’ll see the danger inherent in non-discrimination laws being applied beyond governmental agencies. Such laws are an attack on freedom of association.

cooner
April 12th, 2008 | LINK

Perhaps now you’ll see the danger inherent in non-discrimination laws being applied beyond governmental agencies. Such laws are an attack on freedom of association.

I’m not sure about this ruling either, but I’m not sure you can make a blanket statement that government anti-discrimination good, but private anti-discrimination always bad. I don’t think it would be right or fair for, say, a store or a restaurant, or a hospital, to refuse service to someone just because they’re gay, any more than doing the same for someone who’s black, muslim, etc. Or that a company should choose not to hire an otherwise qualified person, or fire them, because they’re gay. And so on. Such is a definite affront to the stability and quality of life for individuals in a minority group.

The issue in this case seems to be that a photographer has to have a particularly one-on-one relationship with the client; added to that is the fact that the photographer is covering an event that has at minimum some religious connotation (a wedding) that she might have particular objection to. How that particular kind of business relationship could be differentiated in terms of legality, I don’t know.

Just my $.02 of thought.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2008 | LINK

I am a very strong supporter of anti-discrimination laws in employment, and this doesn’t change my opinion on that. I am also a strong supporter of anti-discrimination laws for public accommodations. I think there is, or at least ought to be, a distinction which recognizes that not every business is also a public accommodation. A business which accepts business from anybody who walks into the door is a public accommodation. But not all businesses do so, and not everyone who hires himself or herself out to someone else is a public accommodation. Logically, there is a difference. But the law is not always logical.

grantdale
April 12th, 2008 | LINK

Hmmm. As always, at such times, consider the reverse.

Let’s assume a lesbian photographer refused to photograph a wedding held within a conservative anti-gay church. The photographer, a member of an accepting church, refuses to provide the service on her own religious grounds (and make any up — “We’re all God’s childen, discrimination is an abomination” blah blah)

Or, next scenario, if the photographer in question now turned around and declared “Fine! I’ll do the ceremony.” should the couple be permitted to say “No thanks — we don’t want your sort at our special day.” Should they be permitted to refuse to hire the photographer?

If you’ve come up with a yeah or a nay on both examples that will not be as interesting as those with split decisions. Anyone? (and reasons please!)

Personally I don’t think I’d WANT to hire the services of a person who objected to me at such a time. Could I trust them, and would their mere presense detract from the day?

But I am torn between not seeing this as a “public accomodation” as would be turning up to a hotel or a restaurant, and wanting any law of this nature to be applied without fear or favour regardless of the (commercial) situation or whoever is involved. Exemptions have a habit of being abused, and there’s no point if that can occur.

Wayne
April 12th, 2008 | LINK

This reminds me of the case of Scott Brockie, the Christian printer in Toronto who refused to print materials for a gay activist group, and was convicted in 2000 under human rights offences. His case was partly overturned in 2002 when his right to religious freedom was recognized…

I agree with Jim, David, and others that this sets a disturbing precedent, and I hope Elaine takes this issue to a higher court.

Joel
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

So your all backing out of the anti-discrimination laws? I guess this is why freedom of religion and freedom to be gay do not mix. One or the other, but both of them have an interesting way of cancelling/battling themselves out. This reminds of the lesbian couple who was refused an apartment to stay at JUST because they were gay. And it happened twice(if my memory serves right), because of religious/or-just-plain-disgust objection. THat’s what i call the anti-anti-discrimination! Who knows.. maybe it could’ve ended up in anti-anti-anti-anti-discrimination, but thats just up to the eye of the beholder(judge/jury) i guess.

Jason D
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

So your all backing out of the anti-discrimination laws?

I find this disturbing as well. I don’t agree that a photographer can be considered a public accommodation — my understanding of that is a physical building oriented business (like a supermarket) or a vital service (plumber, etc).
I would think she would not count because a) there are other photographers.
b) it’s a small business
c) it’s not a vital service or a store.

And let the backlash begin…

Jason D
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

I meant to also add to Joel:

no, I don’t think we’re backing off of them, but we realize that they can’t apply to everything.

I think the judge/committee made a bad call, I don’t think the law should apply to this situation. I think the case was superfluous and does more to hurt the larger cause of equality than it does to help it.

grantdale
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

It’s “you’re” Joel, not “your”. (a pet peeve of mine)

Anyway….

No, I don’t see people backing off. It seems more difficult to determine when it’s one person rather than a large corporation. I don’t see it that way, but many do.

If there’s one more thing to consider it would be that the photographer obviously didn’t behave as she could have for any other work she wanted to refuse.

She could have said she was unavailable on that day. And left it at that.

But no, she had to make a point of being rude: eg “I will not, because you are disgusting lesbians” is very different to “Let me check my diary, oh, sorry, I cannot”.

Plainly it wasn’t enough for her to simply avoid the work — that she could have done with ease — no, she also needed to volunteer her opinion about the couple. That flips it from non-accomodation to deliberate bigotry.

Perhaps she should have been charged with stupidity but, fortunately, no such law could exist.

I doubt we’d even be dicussing this if it had involved a black couple, or a Jewish couple etc. A bigoted photographer would have simply kept their opinion to themself, and found another excuse.

Ben in oakland
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

I think Grantdale has it exactly. And it clarifies the difference in the situations.

All she had to do was tell them she was booked. As a wedding photographer, I have done it if i don’t want to work with a couple. Never been on discirminatory grounds, merely that they seemed like trouble and i wanted to avoid it.

Anti-discirmination laws do not prevent people from discirmination. they just insist that you keep it to yourself. and deny the ability to make your discirminatory policies public law.

David
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

Cooner,

Don’t fret over the italics. ;)

I didn’t say that every possible non-discrimination law binding private entities was bad. I simply pointed out the danger in such laws was revealed by this case.

When someone’s business is to provide necessities of life such as food, medicine, and shelter, then it is proper to require non-discrimination.

However, Elaine Huguenin’s business was providing a luxury, not a need. Placing a non-discrimination burden on her is an unwarrented intrusion into her freedom of association.

Of course the ruling is absurd; hiring oneself out to photograph events is not providing a public accomodation at all.

Also, forcing her to photograph want she doesn’t wish to is a violation of the freedom of speech and of the press. The council was too interested in the PC requirement to stamp out homophobia to notice.

TJMcFisty
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

Yeah, as a graphic designer, I neither want to lay out an anti-gay book, website, or multimedia presentation.

I also don’t expect an anti-gay designer to do the same forany project that’s pro-gay.

But, of course, I’m speaking as freelance, not corporate-based…phew, that’s a tougher situation.

David
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

I am a very strong supporter of anti-discrimination laws in employment, and this doesn’t change my opinion on that.

Be careful here, Jim. You could someday be hauled into court over your unchanged opinion.

Remember your hypothetical involving the AFA? If freedom of association doesn’t apply to employers, then why should it apply to those offered a job?

Stefano
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

The commission found that Elane Photography, as a commercial business, provided a public accomodation and could not, under law, discriminate based on sexual orientation.

I have to admit that I’m a bit surprised at the determination and still have unanswered questions about the thinking that went into it. Because the company was primarily one individual

She registered herself as a public business. Whether that business consists of one employee or two employees or twenty employees is somewhat irrelevant with regard to determining her legal status as a business. In effect, she may be the owner of the business but she is also an employee of the business.

If Elane wanted to maintain her ability to refuse service to individuals based upon her personal prejudices she should not have registered herself legally as a public business; instead, she should operate as a single invidiual who works as a independent contractor unassociated with any legal business entity. She was not working as a freelancer but as a vender or provides a service.

Stefano
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

This should have read…

She was not working as a freelancer but as a business vender who provides a public service as opposed to a freelance vender.

cooner
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

David,

Fair enough. I wasn’t quite sure where you were coming from. :)

A big part of what this decision disconcerting is that there are people out there who will point to this as proof that anti-discrimination laws are evil, or that all gays are wrapped up in their ‘agenda’ by spending time engaging in frivolous lawsuits against poor upstanding citizens … and so on. Meh.

Jim Burroway
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

Remember your hypothetical involving the AFA? If freedom of association doesn’t apply to employers, then why should it apply to those offered a job?

Because then you’re talking about involuntary servitude.

David, you’re building up a very flimsy strawman there.

Patrick
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

I can’t help but think this country has lost its civility (assuming it ever had it). Christians denying people service because they don’t like them – imagine what Jesus would have said about that! Yeah, never mind the Golden Rule if you don’t like their skin color, or that they’re Samaritan, etc. Such prejudice and bigotry. Such hypocrisy from people calling themselves Christians!

You don’t have to like who is paying you. You don’t have to agree. No one is asking for your permission or assuming you approve just because you have been hired to do a job. I cannot help but think that people who are incapable of doing work for someone, not because they are physically incapable but because of prejudice, need to seriously reflect upon what holds a functioning society together and should immediately stop calling themselves Christian because they are obviously not following Christ’s example.

You don’t like gays? Too fricking bad. Do your job anyway and treat people with respect and dignity. You don’t like Christians? Too fricking bad. Suck it up and do your job, and treat people with respect and dignity.

But when you approve of or advocate treating people differently because you are prejudiced, you shouldn’t be considered a respectable person. When you deny people work because of your bigotry, you are not a respectable person. Let’s call discrimination what it is – prejudice.

It is for reasons such as this that Christians have a bad name in society. Their prejudice overrules their following the Golden Rule.

Steve Boese
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

For me also, the key to this issue is better understanding of both civility and professionalism by the photographer.

A standard piece of the negotiating process by any self-employed person offering creative services ought to be: “Before I sign a contract with a client, I prefer to sit down and talk about your needs and my skills. I want to make sure that there is a good fit for both of us before we commit.”

And then a face-to-face conversation can include, “The work I’ve been most proud of, and my clients have seemed happiest with, has happened when I had relevant experience and felt a bond with the clients. In full disclosure mode, I want to let you know that I’m concerned about how my personal unease will affect my work if you choose to hire me. As a professional, I would do my best. But, this will be unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory for me.”

That wasn’t her only ethical option, either. She could have made a short list of talented, similarly-priced colleagues who welcomed the business… provided the service by bringing a colleague in as a sub-contractor to do the shoot… offered to shoot the reception, but cited personal convictions driving a preference to not be present at the ceremony.

A little bit of time and attention would have minimized the clients’ desire to hire her.

Paul
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

There is a similar article at Independent Gay Forum (they tend towards the libertarian stance).

http://www.indegayforum.org/blog/show/31493.html

They pose the idea that photography is artistic expression and thus falls under free speech. And that is freedom from compelled speech as well as freedom to speak. The musician in me likes the idea, but is it accurate?

I also thought about using the standby capitalist trick: directing business to like-minded companies and away from those who seek to persecute you. Does this have much of a record of succeeding?

Patrick
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

Jesus said: “Love your neighbor as yourself (unless they are Samaritans and then treat them as badly as you wish).”
– Gospel according to Conservative Christians 6:66

Buffy
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

I wouldn’t have sued in this instance. “Vote with your wallet” is my philosophy. I would have utilized word of mouth to make sure everybody I knew was aware of their discriminatory practices so they could choose whether or not they wanted to use such a business. If enough people stopped going to them because of their bigotry they’d change their ways quick enough, or go out of business.

lurker
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

so, what if elaine put up on her website that she would not work with any queer couples? or interracial couples? would that be ok? what about a local wedding florist who did the same thing? or a plumber?

I don’t know about this “freedom of speech” argument . . . elaine is providing a service, just like the florist and the plumber. the florist could argue that her services are a matter of artistic speech, too. and maybe the plumber would want to make the same argument :)

and does registering as a public business give you government benefits? if so, then she should be subject to government anti-discrimination laws, I think.

Joel
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

Patrick, coming from a conservative/religous background and having been an acolyte and an aspiring-monk… I believe your view of christianity is common, yet not accurate for those already in the faith.

“Yeah, never mind the Golden Rule if you don’t like their skin color, or that they’re Samaritan, etc. ”

I believe they ARE treating you as they would like to be treated. Homosexual relationships(NOT the idea of being homosexual, thats just confussion/temptation) IS a sin. A sin should not be condoned/approved in ANY way. Photographing the gay ceremony is paralel to being indifferent to a flaunting sin, ultimately condoning such acts. What this photographer did was assume THE morality, because God is perfect and thus its a flawless moral. This rejection of SIN(not the ppl) is virtous and if this rejection was done to them, them being in the same SINNING, unrepentant, God-forsaken state, it would be way they would like to be treated. It is righteous and just.

Put it this way, its like asking her to photograph a porn shoot.

Popsiclestand
April 13th, 2008 | LINK

I was going to write something similar Steven but you beat me to it :-)

What happened to professionalism?

Particularly in the world of the artisitc, you will run into situations that are sticky, involving things you may or may not wish to do. Sitting down and discussing the issues with the client are much better than telling them no because of your religious beliefs.

I can guarantee you the lesbian couple in question would have had no problem finding a new photographer when they considered that their most precious wedding moments may be colored with an anti-gay photographer’s beliefs (however that might affect the photographs — who knows?)

However, Elane Photography used this opportunity to preach rather than be professional and they are obviously paying for the lack of tact in handling the situation.

I’m not sure how I feel about this court ruling, but it does leave me rather uneasy. I’m wondering what the court outcome would have been if Elane Photography had handled the issue properly and the lesbian couple, even after being notified of the religious objection and its possible effect on the quality of the work, still chose to pursue the services of Elane Photography.

JJ
April 14th, 2008 | LINK

I think that individual businesses should not be forced to do business if they have moral objections. She could have sub-contracted the job to another photographer and charged the couple the difference. There are always options to treat people as human beings, provide them service and still maintain religious beliefs. A business owner should never have the right to say “I won’t serve you because you’re (insert minority here)”.

If the couple had paid money to use the service and AFTER the fact were denied the service based on orientation and did not receive a refund in full – that is discrimination! I do not know the facts behind the case, however, I disagree with any minority intentionally seeking out bigoted business just to sue them on discrimination grounds when they have suffered no damages as a result.

Timothy Kincaid
April 14th, 2008 | LINK

Joel,

Though you may have studied to pursue religious vows, you make a very common mistake when it comes to Jesus’ commandment.

You, like many, make the argument that one can justify poor treatment by arguing that if one were in the shoes of the recipient one would want such bad treatment (“If I were a homosexual, I’d want someone to preach the gospel and show me my sin”).

But Christ did NOT say:

do to others what you would have them do to you if circumstances were different

Further, such claims are simply not true. They are arrogant and dismissive. If these people were gay, they most decidedly would NOT want someone treating them badly. They are just looking for justification of their poor behavior.

You also argue that doing unto others is subject to how we feel that such behavior would be perceived by others or whether we approve of the actions of others (“a sin should not be condoned”).

But, again, Christ did not say

do to others what you would have them do to you as long as they are living according to the law and the prophets

Nor did Christ call us to look for the sins of others so that we can condemn them lest such a sin be deemed as “condoned”. In fact, the totality of Christ’s message says exactly the opposite.

What Christ said was

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Regarless of all the sin, or condoning, or condemning, or public perception, or whatever, NOTHING trumps doing unto others. No law. No interpretation. Nothing in Scripture trumps the two commandments of Christ (love God, love your neighbor as yourself).

Regardless of whether the lesbians were vile sinners or whether they were blatantly sinning, the response that Christ commanded remains the same: treat them the way you (as you are, right now, today) want to be treated by others.

Period. End of story.

Jason D
April 14th, 2008 | LINK

timothy, nice, I’ve never been able to put it so eloquently.

another way of saying it:

Do you want people to not allow you to marry the person of your choosing? Do you wish to be discriminated against? Do you wish your children to be taught in an environment that is hostile to you and your relationship with your spouse? Do you wish to be fired, or not permitted to have a job based solely on personal details that have no bearing on your ability to perform the job’s primary tasks?

If not, why do you treat others this way?

Ben in Oakland
April 14th, 2008 | LINK

Beautifully put, as always, Timothy.

I would add this thought. Sort of in the same line as the golden Rule.

I try my best not to judge others, especially for their alleged sins, because I would not like them judging me, either. But they do, anyway

JC specifically enjoins this behavior– judge not lest ye be judged, let he among you who is without sin, look not for the speck, etc.

And given the propensity of people who make their livings by judging other people for their alleged sins to be, shall we say, well beamed in the eye (Telephone call for Ted Haggard!!!), why should anyone who claims this kind of moral authority be given any credibility?

As Timothy points out, there are NO exceptions, not even for gay people. Joel, what part of those statements is inapplicable to one such as yourself?

Joel
April 14th, 2008 | LINK

“(”If I were a homosexual, I’d want someone to preach the gospel and show me my sin”). ”

Well, at least you understood what i said. Except that ‘show me my sin’ would be changed to ‘and not condone my sin’.

- – - – - –


But Christ did NOT say:

do to others what you would have them do to you if circumstances were different

But what God really said was

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Which i understand it as treat others as you would like to be treated.

The part where “if circumstances were different” is pivotal and needs to be INFERRED from it, otherwise they would have to condone, for example, robberies, murders, because if they thought like a murderer or a theif then they might have to condone such action. Of course they dont, but its because GOD said it was wrong(and would apply equally to to homosexuality). You have to treat others as YOU wish to be treated, not as THEY wish to be treated. You may think they are treating you badly, but I KNOW christians(or at least the christians i grew up with)do not believe so. WHY? Because they cannot empathize with immorality because it is simply, WRONG, homosexuals are ppl but the action of marrying is wrong. You cannot/should not ask them to put themselves in the lesbian shoes and understand what THEY want and ultimately condone it because thats what a lesbian would want. THat is counterproductive to the sinless life we are all called to, and are expected to uphold and practice . This of course is were ‘as YOU, YOU, YOU wish to be treated is crucial’ not as they. Also, they can tolerate the IDEA of homosexual persons, but the action or possible practice of such idea is a ‘CRIME’, in God’s eyes.

“They are just looking for justification of their poor behavior.

God is their justification.

>>> However, since this is NOT a theocracy the rules were that if you make it a public accomodation he/she cannot discriminate because of a specific X or Y reason. She was listed as apublic accomodation and thus was punished accordingly. This is interesting too because then a private gay/christian/black/woman employer was free to not employ someone BECAUSE they were black/christian/gay/woman, and it would be legally correct, right? This would fall on freedom of association seems.

- – - – -

“Do you want people to not allow you to marry the person of your choosing?”

Not if its to a same sexed person, no amount of choosing would make it right.
WHY? (im sure ur all familiar, but for those that arent…) The marriage aspect is intended to be for a man and a woman, at no point did he(the bible translator and/or God) ever came close to remotely suggesting that man-man, woman-woman could marry. Rather, he condemned the action of man-man, woman-woman and it is not far fetched to believe that a marriage is paralel, yet different, to the action he condemned. This might be a predominantly unsubstantiated claim, but it is a the predominant christian belief however.

Jason, your entire post revolves around the premise that homosexual relationships or should we say homogendered homosexual relationships from now on(*shrug), are the same as heterosexual relationships,

Jon
April 15th, 2008 | LINK

I just love it when “Christians” like Joel wrap themselves up in the Bible in order to justify their bigotry and haul out the same, old, tired, and can’t be found anywhere in the Bible mantra, “love the sinner and hate the sin” or something just as nauseating.

I am also sure that Elane Photography would have no problem photographing a heterosexual couple who’ve shacked up for 10 years, and with 3 kids and one on the way later, decide to have a “traditional” wedding complete with a long, flowing, white wedding gown in a “traditional”, Biblical, “Christian” church wedding ceremony.

I SPIT ON THEIR HYPOCRISY! It sickens me! And, I know it does God too. And by the way Joel, I know THAT’S in the Bible.

TJ McFisty
April 15th, 2008 | LINK

“Do you want people to not allow you to marry the person of your choosing?”

Not if its to a same sexed person, no amount of choosing would make it right.
WHY? (im sure ur all familiar, but for those that arent…) The marriage aspect is intended to be for a man and a woman, at no point did he(the bible translator and/or God) ever came close to remotely suggesting that man-man, woman-woman could marry. Rather, he condemned the action of man-man, woman-woman and it is not far fetched to believe that a marriage is paralel, yet different, to the action he condemned. This might be a predominantly unsubstantiated claim, but it is a the predominant christian belief however.

Feh, whatever. Make up your own rules for everyone else as you go along…that’s all I hear. You guys can’t seem to follow your own crap (I mean, really, you guys bear false witness against us all the time, and that little law made the top ten) so give me a really good reason why I have to follow your stupid made up laws?

I mean, really, is God going to send you to hell just cuz you allowed same-sex marriage to happen? It’s not like you’re the one marrying another dude. You’ve got plenty of other issues of your own to deal with so why focus on us…

Oh, no, wait, I see…it’s not really about us, is it? What it’s about is your salvation. Honestly, if it’s not, then you really shouldn’t give two squats about us or what we do. This is your goalpost: Keep the queers from marrying and spare yourself from God’s wrath.

When it’s all said and done, that’s what this is all about isn’t it? Well, guess what…I hope you don’t make it.

That’s your hell…you don’t make it cuz some joker made up some crap rules that you can’t follow due to something innate. You can pray all you want, gather all the followers you want, be as good of a person as you can be…sin the absolute minimum, but you can’t get there cuz of some stupid, ridiculous, nonsensical reasons that some jackass just made up cuz he doesn’t like who you are and insist that “Well, God sad it’s this way so, do te do, that’s the way it is. Sucks to be you!”

Does that sound cruel? Oh, that’s too bad. Now maybe you’ll start to understand this hell you and your ilk put us through.

Ben in Oakland
April 15th, 2008 | LINK

Joel: I read your screed, and tried one more time to understand your mindset. I can only come to the conclusion (yet again) that the mindset of those who quote the bible was there long before they started quoting the bible, and is/was as closed as that book was before they learned to read. It is clear that no amount of bible-citing, scholarship, or logic will sway you, or I think even interest you, because you have already decided gay is bad and against g’s commandments.

As with all bible worshippers, you stake out your position, find the passages that you believe support it, and ignore passages that don’t, especially those passages of equal or greater moral weight than the ones you cite. It is what tells me that this is not, nor has it ever really been, about what the bible may or may not say about homosexuality. There is one set of rules for gay people, and a totally different set of rules for everyone else. Same as in the military, adoption,civil rights laws, marriage, indeed, anything where the subject of gay people comes up and why they should be treated differently for no other reason than that they’re gay, and you or your image of G agree.

I’ve challenged you several times since you started posting on this issue, and you’ve never responded to it. I should not expect you to do so now. but here goes.

You wrote: ‘The part where “if circumstances were different” is pivotal and needs to be INFERRED from it, otherwise they would have to condone, for example, robberies, murders, because if they thought like a murderer or a thief then they might have to condone such action.’

Why is it that if this is G’s desire and commandment, it always needs to be inferred? Why is G so consistently unclear on this subject, despite the clarity that so many bible-worshippers insist is there. “Sleep the sleep of a woman” does not equal gay unless you already have decided it does.

Robbery and murder are wrong. I don’t need you book or belief to tell me it’s wrong. I also resent the comparison to violent crime, and the implication that I do not know this. If you cannot understand the difference, then you are in no position to judge anyone’s morals. You have neither the moral nor spiritual authority to judge my actions. You are enjoined from doing so by your savior far more clearly than anything in your book enjoins me.

That is why JC said judge not, look not, let he who, do as you would be done by. As I have asked you repeatedly, what portion of those statements does not apply to you? And why do you think they don’t? It is not for you to judge or condone.

you not only misunderstand the moral and religious issues here, you misunderstand mine as well. I am not interested in condoning, tolerance, acceptance, approval, whatever. These are irrelevant to me, because they are your problem, not mine.

My problem is that people like you believe I should be treated differently than you, that you are indeed superior to me in all ways, because you don’t like whatever you imagine my sex life to be, or that G doesn’t. Heterosexuality is neither virtuous, normal, nor superior. It is just stultifyingly common.

you also wrote: ‘The marriage aspect is intended to be for a man and a woman, at no point did he(the bible translator and/or God) ever came close to remotely suggesting that man-man, woman-woman could marry.’

And at no point did he not. as far as I can tell, honey, you are making this all up. Your opening statement does not follow from your closing statement; you’ve just assumed it to be true. If it is a bible translator, then this is not the word of G, it’s the work of Joe scribe– maybe. You might be surprised to learn the the king James version of the bible was based upon translations (I think in German) made in the 1200′s, based upon documents that were not much older than that– as far back as they could be traced. So if that is your authority, then you are just “speaking ex cathedra from your belly button”.

If you want your bible to have authority over you, you’re welcome to it, though as i have already noted, you ignore it wherever you DON”T want it to have any authority. That’s called freedom of religion.

I want you to take your god-damned and god-damning religion out of my life. That’s freedom FROM religion.

And that is the crux of this issue. Elane has her freedom of religion. She is just not allowed to let it be public policy.

Timothy Kincaid
April 15th, 2008 | LINK

Joel,

Thank you for so very embodying the essense of misunderstood Christianity.

Everything you said is in direct opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ. He ALWAYS treated the outsider, the sinner, the social outcast with dignity and never worried whether anyone thought he was condoning sin. And he commanded us to do the same.

And religious society did accuse him of condoning sin. That’s why the good church folk killed him. Remember? Have you read the gospels?

Timothy Kincaid
April 15th, 2008 | LINK

The marriage aspect is intended to be for a man and a woman

And marriages were intended to be arranged by fathers

And women were intended to be the property of men

And they were intended to not speak in church and if they had any questions ask their husbands

And Christians were intended not to be married at all – as long as they could not burn with lust

And slaves were intended to be obedient to their masters

And circumcision was intended to be the most important sign of a covenant with God. And then it was intended to not matter at all.

And people were intended to take the Bible absolutely literally… except that of course no one really does – they just claim to when they want to attack others.

You see, Joel, if you actually read the Bible you’ll come to see that it is a chronical of men seeking God, not a holy object that we worship above God. Don’t make the Bible an idol. Let it lead you to God, but don’t look to it as a magic eight ball.

Equality Loudoun » What’s really at stake in the Elane case?
April 15th, 2008 | LINK

[...] through the use of force, and there is a danger of that approach backfiring. Timothy Kincaid at Box Turtle Bulletin: On one hand, I recognize the value of the limitations that society has placed on the application [...]

Ben in Oakland
April 15th, 2008 | LINK

Timothy was talking about the same thing I was.

Joel wrote: ‘Rather, he condemned the action of man-man, woman-woman and it is not far fetched to believe that a marriage is paralel, yet different, to the action he condemned.’

This idea is called complementarity/ Here’s a link on the subject, which underlines what I said. http://www.gaychristian101.com/BiblicalComplementarity.html .

It’s another way of saying: YOU’RE MAKING IT ALL UP!

Joel
April 15th, 2008 | LINK

First off, I AM NOT a christian. I just live with christians and lived a very devout christian life up to not too long ago.
I can probably keep playing the devil’s advocate(after all, this is what a grew up in) but i will eventually probably fail, simply because my views are grounded LESS on the knowledge of the whole bible and more on what i was taught. What i exposed was what i was taught as an absolute truth. If they are grounded or not in what the bible REALLY says, i can not answer that for you because i simply dont know the answer. However, there are things you guys say that trigger in me the, ‘defend the christian point of view’ because i believe you are mistaken on what they actually mean.

You are right grantdale, you will not convince me. I have a defined set of values, morals and beliefs that represent what christianity is. The only ones that do not share these same values, morals and beliefs are the pro-gays. You can ‘convince’ me and prove everything i said was wrong… but the ONLY way i might sway your way is for me to read the bible for myself and say, ‘ah, you were right’. Why? Because i’ve heard of so many priests/pastors and such that defend their point of view(that resembles the one you guys simply dismissed as false, mistaken, and full of bigotry) after studying decades and a lifetime of the bible. Oddly enough… i DO NOT CARE what the bible says nor God. For me, the first is a book to control human actions with ‘internal restraint’ and the later a pure imaginary friend. And even then, would i end up defending the priests/pastors(and Elane photography) or timothy kincaid?

- – - – - – -

“I want you to take your god-damned and god-damning religion out of my life. That’s freedom FROM religion.

I completely empathize with you.

- – - – - –


And that is the crux of this issue. Elane has her freedom of religion. She is just not allowed to let it be public policy.

And this is where it gets more interesting/important, i think.
THis example of Elane photography, if say, one could take it 50-100years back and apply it to blacks back then and instead of freedom of religion, one would use freedom of association. Then, it would not be so far fetched to find ourselves defending the freedom of association of the white-who-find-blacks-disgusting while we are black, no? Anyways, imo, these judges are practicing from experience. For example, for blacks, Freedom of Association < Discrimination, correct me if im wrong. Im new to this :P. Equally, Freedom of religion/Association < Discrimination to being gay, independant of where it might happen. Otherwise, society will always be able to discriminate IF they play their cards right. And the point of anti-discrimination laws is to punish with more fervent impunity, through force and power, the wrong doings of society to damage/demean/reject others under no concrete basis. It may not eliminate or really change anything, but at least it attempts to do so. Hopefully society will understand that being gay does not make you more disgusting/evil simply for being(and living -to separate from ex-gays-) gay.

I would say that i agree with their ruling, but its further implications are pretty blurry.

toujoursdan
April 16th, 2008 | LINK

I completely agree with the ruling for the same reasons Stefano gave above. She put herself under certain regulations, including non-discrimination rules, when registering as a company. Whether the couple were behaving like “jackasses” but testing the law is irrelevant.

Denny
April 16th, 2008 | LINK

I look at this like a job offer. I put my resume on the ‘Net and get solicited. If the job is outside my expertise or below my salary reqs, I don’t respond, effectively turning down the offer. Huguenin shouldn’t be fined because she turned down a job offer. Do I have to say “yes” to EVERY job offer I get?

Catholic Church Threatens to Leave Homeless Out in the Cold | Asterisk
November 12th, 2009 | LINK

[...] your commercial business provides services that are considered “public accommodation”, you aren’t allowed to discriminate just because you call yourself a [...]

Michael
July 29th, 2012 | LINK

This case was won because the offense claimed a non-sequitor similarity; a black person at a restaurant is not the same as a gay couple demanding you sit there taking photos of them kissing.

Several examples to think about, when this case or one like it moves to the Supreme Court, which certainly one will:

1) A female can refuse to do her abortion by or choose to be seen by a MALE OB/GYN.
The male OB/GYN must perform his services on any one that steps into his office, as long as it is legal and she is of sound mind.

2) A taxi cab driven by a white man can not refuse to pick up a black man.
A taxi cab driven by a black man can not refuse to pick up a white man.
A white man can refuse to be picked up by a black driver, and turn him away.
A black man can refuse to be picked up by a white driver, and turn him away.
In the latter two situations, no one can be sued for discrimination.
Is discrimination happening? Yes–but not on the side of the business.

3)In several locales, prostitution is legal.
Can a female prositute refuse to service her ex-husband? Yes.
Can she refuse to service a black man? Certainly.
Can she refuse to service a Chinese man because of his attitude? Of course.
Can she refuse to service a white guy in a wheel chair because she doesn’t like men with no legs? I should say so!

4) Gay people are not a PROTECTED CLASS. Black people are. Smokers are not a protected class. Not accepting smokers in your service does not mean you do not accept black men. It means you do not accept smokers.

5) You can turn anyone away from your business because of “loss of trust”; especially in a doctor-patient relationship. This case has a loss of trust because taking photos is something intimate. Viewing the photos is also something intimate. If either party does not want to do this, the service is compromised.

6) Some “services” are more personal than others.
Buying a shirt at Wal-Mart is not the same as screwing someone cause you are a prostitute.
Photographers too, provide a personal service.

The jury here was deceived by a good lawyer when the defense counsel was simply ill-prepared. This case would get stomped on by the Supreme Court. We are allowed to have our personal preferences, religions, and hates.

I don’t mind gay people. This female “couple” here are not gay. They are ligitious faggots. I would close up shop and not pay them a dime.

Photographers:
Protect yourselves in the future:
When a gay couple calls and wants photos done. Tell them “Yes”; you’ll do it. However, state “I disagree with the gay lifestyle”. Then take shit photos.

This whole case reaks and the Constitution is hanging by a thread. These are truly the latter-days.

Priya Lynn
July 29th, 2012 | LINK

Yes, I see what you mean Michael, it certainly must be the end of the world when people are asked to treat gays equally. Won’t someone please think of the children?!

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