Refusal of Service?
“We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”
Not a sign of the times.
Businesses, in these United States, may not discriminate against people on the basis of race, religion . . . and now, in nearly half of the states, because of sexual orientation.
This came up in New Mexico, recently. Elane Photography had refused to visually record the civil union ceremonies of a gay couple. The couple sued, and a court ruled in their favor: “[A] commercial photography business that offers its services to the public, thereby increasing its visibility to potential clients, is subject to the anti-discrimination provisions” of New Mexico’s Human Rights Act, and “must serve same-sex couples on the same basis that it serves opposite-sex couples.”
The old idea was that governments were not to discriminate against this person or that, because all are owed justice. But businesses do not sell justice, and, since no one is owed a particular service, private persons and groups, including businesses, were allowed to discriminate in ways forbidden to governments.
This changed with 1964’s Civil Rights Act. Not only did it repeal the evil Jim Crow era public mandates for discrimination (further enforced by organized private violence), but the Act forbade private business discrimination, enforcing open access . . . leaving us with what B.K. Marcus calls “the right to say ‘I do’” but without any “right to say ‘I don’t.’”
The case will be appealed. “We believe that the First Amendment protects the right of people not to communicate messages that they disagree with,” say the photographers’ lawyers.
The ACLU declares this notion “frighteningly far-reaching.”
Well, yes. Justice is supposed to be that. Far-reaching.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.