Monday, June 16, 2008

Whatever happened to "I reserve the right"?

Let me please begin this post by saying that I believe that you should be able to marry who you choose (if you are both consenting adults). Who you love. As a minister, I would marry any couple that asked. BUT

Today I was listening to NPR and they had a story. A story that upset me very much.

Apparently, there is a business that is being sued for refusing to videotape a Lesbian wedding. The act of taping this wedding went directly against the religious beliefs of the owner of the company.

The couple in question won the lawsuit.

I think it's wrong. I think the photographer should have the right to POLITELY refuse to the service, just as I would refuse service to someone I thought was doing something morally wrong. How can the government, or anyone else for that matter, tell me that I CANNOT refuse to do business with someone? Suppose I knew someone was going to use my soap as an ingredient to bomb Cute Fuzzy Puppy and Kittyville? I can't let them do that! Oh wait, blowing stuff up is illegal. BUT I don't think I could marry a 12 year old to her 30 year old paramour, even if she had her parents permission. Because I think it's wrong. And according to that court's ruling, I can be sued for feeling that way.

The business is appealing the decision. I hope they win. In this, I have to side with the Christians.

I'm sure there are plenty of videographers who would LOVE to tape the wedding.


rebturtle said...

Wow. Sickening really. This is the type of angry gay/lesbian retaliation that gives the whole group trouble. So some people don't like them. Big whoop. You can't make people like you, or do business with you against their will. I wholeheartedly agree with letting them get married and having the same rights as straight people. This isn't doing anything to further their cause, though.

I was very impressed with New York's rapid stance on accepting other-state gay marriages, although it could be viewed as a stop-gap to allowing them in New York. At least it was a step in the right direction. I was very proud of San Diego, a traditionally conservative city, for it's stand to officate all weddings, although individual officials will not be forced to do so if they are uncomfortable with it (an alternate will be available).

Sensei Ern said...

Fifty years ago, restaurants refused to serve people of certain colored skin. Did they have the right to refuse service to them? They did at the time, but the courts decided it was illegal to do so.

What is the difference between refusing to serve someone because of their race versus refusing to serve them because they are gay?

shiny said...

Sorry for such a late response...

I think the primary difference between this situation and one where someone is refused a seat at a lunch counter is the type of service being offered. I don't know all of the details of the story; if an agreement had been reached (whether by a contract or a verbal handshake) and the videographer backed out only after he had realized the nature of this wedding, thus leaving the couple to scramble at the last minute for a replacement, then I might feel differently. But the way I see it is that the videographer is providing a unique artistic service, and the couple was trying to contract him to use his talent and vision to capture the essence of a beautiful wedding. If he is unable to do this because he won't be able to see the beauty through the lens, then perhaps he's not the best person for the job. And there are likely others out there who can fill his shoes.

I feel this is different from those who serve food at a public establishment or, in more recent events, those who distribute prescriptions at a pharmacy but refuse to provide certain ones based on personal belief. Unless, of course, other identical options are immediately available.

Just my two cents...

NWJR said...


I own a business that provides video and photography services, and a large portion of my business is weddings.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I'm really not. I know a photographer that was approached about shooting a civil union ceremony, but the couple was polite in asking if he would have a problem in doing so (for the record, even though he's very conservative, he said he'd be willing to take the job).

We seem to be creating new "protected classes" all the time. What if the photographer had taken the job but had done a substandard job? Would the couple sue because they felt they were discriminated against because the photos weren't "pretty" enough?

The relationship between a photographer/videographer and a client is an important one. Before I go out on a shoot, I know my clients almost well enough to consider them friends. It's the last place where you want to have an adversarial relationship. If the photographer had said, "I just don't think we'd be a good match," the couple should have just moved on. There are plenty of folks who would love to take on that job.

My gut reaction is that the couple in question were more concerned about taking a stand than actually hiring a photographer. Like "rebturtle" said, you can't make people like you. Accept that, and move on.