Columnist George Will wrote recently about a lesbian couple in New Mexico that tried to hire a photographer, Elaine Huguenin, to shoot their “commitment ceremony” (New Mexico has banned same-sex marriages). Mrs. Huguenin, a Christian who doesn’t approve of same-sex marriages, turned down the job.
No problem, right? Just hire another photographer, right?
The lesbian couple instead made a mountain out of the proverbial molehill by filing a civil rights complaint against Mrs. Huguenin, claiming her photography service was a “public accommodation” – like a hotel or restaurant – that discriminated against the couple based on sexual orientation.
Not exactly surprisingly, but no less insane, the New Mexico Human Rights Commission agreed with the lesbians and hit Mrs. Huguenin with $6,600 worth of attorney fees. The case is now moving to the New Mexico Supreme Court where, if there is still justice in the world, the court will toss the case, if not torch it.
Me…I couldn’t care less if gays get married. How does that hurt me or my marriage? Live and let live, I say.
But for the government to have the power to force a private business owner to photograph a wedding against her wishes and religious beliefs is outrageous. And this is EXACTLY what Sen. Barry Goldwater warned us about way back in 1964 when the Civil Rights Act was being debated in Congress. From his book, “Where I Stand”…
“The two portions of this bill to which I have constantly and consistently voiced objections, and which are of such overriding significance that they are determinative of my vote on the entire measure, are those which would embark the Federal government on a regulatory course of action with regard to private enterprise in the area of so-called ‘public accommodations’ and in the area of employment…
“I find no constitutional basis for the exercise of Federal regulator authority in either of these two areas; and I believe the attempted usurpation of such power to be a grave threat to the very essence of our basic system of government…”
One by-product of the Civil Rights Act was that the government began promoting reverse-discrimination against whites based on race in order to promote preferences for non-whites based on race. And this is acceptable in a nation that prides itself on “equal justice under law”…how?
In any event, it was perfectly appropriate for Congress to outlaw racial discrimination for the purposes of government; however, interfering in the private affairs of private individuals in such matters was not only unconstitutional, but opened our society up to all kinds of unintended consequences.
Such as a pair of lesbians suing to force somebody to take their picture.
Goldwater was right. Liberal social engineers were wrong. History now bears that out.
(This column was edited and updated on 9/20/12)