Wedding Photographers

Paul Finkelman paul.finkelman at yahoo.com
Sun May 10 19:07:52 PDT 2009


we don't know the facts of this case beyond the simple fact of litigation.  Suppose he is the only photography studio around; or the best in the business?  And you want to hire him because he is good.  Can he refuse to take your business on arbitrary grounds of gender (or race or religion)?  '

Maybe I am missing something here but no one has articulated how taking the pictures is either participation or endorsement.  I know someone who took pictures of a KKK march in Austin.  Did that make him a participant or meant he was endorsing it?

The larger question remains.  If you have a business open to the public, to all comers, can you refuse service on the basis of gender, race, religion, ethnicity of the consumer?

----

Paul Finkelman

President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law

Albany Law School

80 New Scotland Avenue

Albany, NY  12208



518-445-3386 (p)

518-445-3363 (f)



pfink at albanylaw.edu



www.paulfinkelman.com

--- On Sun, 5/10/09, David Bernstein <DavidEBernstein at aol.com> wrote:

From: David Bernstein <DavidEBernstein at aol.com>
Subject: Wedding Photographers
To: "'mairi morrison'" <morrismai at aol.com>, paul.finkelman at yahoo.com
Cc: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
Date: Sunday, May 10, 2009, 9:47 PM




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 







This analogy only works for the
photographer who refuses to take pictures of homosexuals.  That’s
not the example Rick Duncan was talking about.  He gave the example of a
Christian photographer who refuses specifically to take pictures at a gay
wedding.  That strikes me as obviously within the realm of private
conscience, just like an Orthodox Jewish photographer who wouldn’t take
pictures at a Buddhist wedding (to the prohibition of having anything to do
with idol worship), or, say, a Catholic photographer who refuses to take photos
at weddings where one or both parties are divorced. 

   











Even more important, why would anyone want
someone to take photos at their wedding if the photographer found the wedding
morally objectionable? Such a photographer is not likely to do a good
job.  The answer is, they don’t really want such a photographer at
their wedding, and would much rather have any one of hundreds of other
photographers who would be happy to do that wedding.  So when they sue or
report the photographer to the local “human rights” commission, it’s
not because they actually want the photographer to serve them, rather they are
trying to punish him for having values they object to.  Such intolerance, with
no angle of religion, is, IMHO, much worse than the photographer’s
actions (assuming he simply politely declined the job). 

   

Paul Finkelman wrote: 







 


 
  
  The Christian pacifist does not put up a sign saying
  he will make tanks, and then refuse to make them.  

  

  The photographer says he will take pictures.  His refusal to do so is no
  different than the  Christians who said they will not serve blacks. (AND
  there were Millions of them all with the blessings of their ministers).
    Bigotry is bigotry.  This is bigotry.

  

  The person who boycotts a store does not have an obligation to shop at every
  store.  The public business has a legal obligation to serve all who come
  to the store.  

  

  That you cannot see this distinction surprises me.

  

  Would you say the Christian undertaker can refuse to prepare the body of a
  gay person for burial.  Can the Christian hair dresser refuse to cut a
  gay man's hair?  Can the shoe store saleswomen refuses to serve the g/l
  customer?  

  

  Can the  Christian waiter refuse to serve the gay couple at the
  restaurant?  Or the interracial couple (say he went to Bob Jones)..

  

  We dealt with this on race years ago.  Time to overcome your fears and
  hatreds.  You do not endorse the way people live by engaging in
  commercial transactions with them?

  

  

  

  ----

  Paul Finkelman

  President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law

 Albany Law School

  80 New Scotland 
  Avenue

 Albany , NY 
   12208

  

  518-445-3386 (p)

  518-445-3363 (f)

  

  pfink at albanylaw.edu

  

  www.paulfinkelman.com

  

  --- On Sun, 5/10/09, Rick Duncan <nebraskalawprof at yahoo.com>
  wrote: 
  

  From: Rick Duncan <nebraskalawprof at yahoo.com>

  Subject: Re: Use of homophobe

  To: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu

  Date: Sunday, May 10, 2009, 12:53 PM 
  
  
   
    
    Paul Finkelman writes:   
    
    I guess i have no problem calling people homophobes,
    anti-Semites, Christophobes and racists if that is what they are.  If
    you have strong religous beliefs against certain actitivies you will
    presumably not hate the people who behave that way, you will merely not
    want to support their behavior.  So you oppose same sex marriage. 
    Your refusal to take their picture, or serve them in yous business as you
    would other people, however, is a form of discrimination that is the same
    as racism or anti-semitism or Chrisophobia.   
    
    

    

    There is a long tradition of people refusing to participate in activities

    they believe are sinful or immoral. The Christian photographer who

    refuses to participate in a same sex wedding is exercising the same kind

    of conscientious objection as the following:

    

    --the religious pacifist worker who refuses to work on tanks or other kinds
    of weapons 

    --the anti-apartheid activists who refused to patronize businesses that
    operated in South Africa

    --the labor union supporter who refuses to purchase non-union grapes

    

    It is a common and very proper practice for people to decline to
    participate in commercial transactions for moral reasons. The Christian
    photographer who refuses to work at a homosexual wedding is acting in good
    conscience; he is not suffering from any kind of disorder other than to
    have deep religious principles that conflict with "gay rights"
    laws.

    

    Cheers, Rick Duncan 
    
    
    Rick Duncan 

    Welpton Professor of Law 

 University of Nebraska 
    College of Law 

 Lincoln , NE 
     68583-0902

    

     
    
    "And against the constitution I have never raised
    a storm,It's the scoundrels who've corrupted it that I want to reform"
    --Dick Gaughan (from the song, Thomas Muir of Huntershill) 
    
    

    

     
    
   
  
     
  
  

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