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It certainly does, which is why the WSJ headline is much more accurate.
Here’s a refreshing take on the issue from a writer at Slate, who himself is a supporter, but still has the intellectual honesty to not simply characterize opponents as bigots.
Gay marriage and religious freedom: Don’t stereotype the Christian wedding photographer as a bigot.
Honestly, Brandon, I fail to see how people who choose to discriminate against gay people because they’re gay (because they think their “holy” book tells them that gay people don’t deserve equal rights) is ANY different from discriminating against someone because they’re black, or disabled, or female. The addition of religion to the equation doesn’t change the outcome. If that isn’t bigotry, then how are we defining that word?
I’m not surprised that you don’t see the difference, but it was worth pointing to someone on your side who does. Here’s someone else who gets it as well.
And just to clarify, we aren’t talking about refusing to serve a gay person in a restaurant, or in some other kind of retail establishment. The person’s sexuality, race, etc. has no bearing in those circumstances. We’re talking about services to gay “weddings.”
If I was a wedding photographer, it would be a cold day in hell before I’d photograph a gay ceremony. I’m not going to participate in that manner and you have no more right to demand my services, than I have to demand that you photograph an NRA event, a pro-life convention, or any other group whose views you staunchly disagree with. No one has a right to my individual time and talents if I don’t want to do business with them. Same goes for your time and talents.
It ultimately begs the question as to why proponents would want a photographer, etc. to feel compelled to agree to provide his services, if only because of a fear of being sued, when he really doesn’t want to. I’d want someone that I paid to be fully engaged, and if not outright supportive of my ceremony, at least ambivalent to it all. It seems punitive action must be taken against those who do not hold the correct view.
Given that you are against discrimination in services, I assume you would disagree with the gay hairstylist who has now refused to cut the hair of New Mexico governor Susana Martinez because she is against redefining marriage. If you support the hairstylist in this, I’d like to know why it is okay for him to refuse his services, but it is not okay for a wedding photographer to do the same thing.
First of all, “I’m not surprised you don’t see the difference” is coming off to me as dismissive and disrespectful. Given the parameters that I established, I DON’T see a difference.
Let’s further lay down that we specifically WEREN’T talking only about gay weddings in the case of Arizona. Gay marriage is not legal in that state. In fact, it IS legal to discriminate against a GLBTQ person specifically BECAUSE that person is GLBTQ and no other reason. No photographer or baker or seamstress or function hall or pastor was ever in any danger of having to participate in any way with a gay wedding, so the need for this bill went a bit beyond what I could understand.
I wouldn’t want someone who wasn’t going to give their best effort to work for me in ANY capacity; if you’re going to roll your eyes through my wedding, then I’d rather you not be my photographer (and, to be honest, I’d rather know up front that you’re going to be pissy about it so I can NOT give you my business). The point that I’m making here – and that I will continue to make – is that denying services to GLBTQ people simply because they are GLBTQ and you find them distasteful (for WHATEVER reason) IS bigotry. I don’t care if your pastor teaches it to you, if your parents taught you, or you came upon the “gays are icky” conclusion all on your own. Denying a gay person equal rights is precisely the same as denying a black person or a Jewish person or a handicapped person or an insert-difference-from-you-here person their rights. We’ve decided as a society that discrimination is wrong. I’m not interested in living in an apartheid society where institutions, businesses, and organizations get to choose with whom they will deign to do business, and that’s precisely what the Arizona bill was trying to make happen.
Well, if I intended to be dismissive and disrespectful, I wouldn’t come around these parts and engage in dialog with you and other readers of your blog who also sometimes comment. I pointed out a couple of people on your side who do see a distinction and realize that declining to provide services to a same-sex ceremony does not automatically mean that the individual is a bigot, if providing those services would violate his conscience.
Bills like those in Arizona and Kansas were reactions to photographers, bakers, florists being sued for declining to provide their services to a same-sex wedding. Those are the circumstances that I was discussing in my comments and I pointed out that I view that differently than some other type of business such as a restaurant or other retail establishment. There is a big difference in me declining to photograph a same-sex ceremony and me declining to serve a gay person a sandwich or sell him a chair from my furniture store. I wasn’t intending to discuss the Arizona bill specifically, but was interested in the macro discussion regarding whether someone has a right to someone else’s time and talents, their services.
I want to clarify your position so I make sure I don’t misunderstand you, based on what you said in the last paragraph of your most recent comment, so I would appreciate it if you would answer these questions.
Do you agree or disagree with the decision of the hairstylist in New Mexico to refuse to cut the governor’s hair?
If you, Mrs Chili, were an event photographer and pro-life group approached you about photographing their convention, would you agree to do business with them, even though you are diametrically opposed to their goals and agenda? Should you (or another photographer) be able to decline their business without worrying about being sued or otherwise compelled by law to have no choice but to provide the services?
“Do you agree or disagree with the decision of the hairstylist in New Mexico to refuse to cut the governor’s hair?”
I do not, though I DO understand where it’s coming from. This person – this SPECIFIC person – is in a position of power, and is using that power in direct opposition to the hairdresser’s personal interests. I’m certain that he feels he’s engaged in an act of civil disobedience, but what he’s really doing is exhibiting the same kind of behavior that we on the left are screaming about with all these so-called “religious freedom” bills.
If he wants to take a stand, he should, but I’d go about it completely differently. If I were him, I’d solicit members of the GLBTQ/A community to fill up my schedule and then tell the governor’s staff that I’m booked solid and suggest that she find another hairdresser. Then, I’d use the time the folks were in my chair to encourage them to vote – and to encourage them to encourage their friends to vote.
“If you, Mrs Chili, were an event photographer and pro-life group approached you about photographing their convention, would you agree to do business with them, even though you are diametrically opposed to their goals and agenda? Should you (or another photographer) be able to decline their business without worrying about being sued or otherwise compelled by law to have no choice but to provide the services?”
I would handle that hypothetical situation by explaining to the prospective client that I am, as you put it, diametrically opposed to their activities and that, if they chose to hire me, I would turn around and donate the fee I charged them directly to my local chapter of Planned Parenthood. I would then refer them to one of my professional colleagues who would have less of a quandary with the gig. If I were the only photographer in town, though, I WOULD do the job – and I would do it in a professional and respectful manner. If they’re not breaking the law (which I assume they wouldn’t be) and were not asking me to participate in any kind of meaningful way, then as a professional, I should be able to handle the convention.
Thanks for the answers Mrs. Chili, it is appreciated. 🙂
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