Do we have the right to not work with someone?
In an interesting case out of New Mexico, the state supreme court just ruled that Elane Photography violated New Mexico’s Human rights act which “Prohibits a public accommodation from refusing services to a person based on that person’s sexual orientation.” Elane Photography refused to shoot a wedding for the plaintiff because it was a gay wedding. They felt it was against their beliefs.
As someone who has been in the wedding business for 30 years, I am left with a couple things bothering me about this case.
My first question is why some discrimination is acceptable and some not? I get discriminated against all the time (Just like every other businessman out there). I get discriminated against based on price (Too expensive for some clients), age (They wanted a younger DJ), race (Had a black couple prefer a black DJ) and even personality (I can’t even imagine what they were thinking, I have a great personality). The point is that people discriminate all the time. What if that photographer chooses not to shoot a wedding because the bride was a pain in the ass; or because she preferred only older couples?
Think about what this law does. This law sets up some groups to be protected at the expense of others. Orwell said it best. “All animals are created equal; some are more equal than others.” I’m just not sure the government should be in the business of protecting some minorities and not others. And yes, I am a minority. An individual is a minority of one; you just don’t get a smaller minority than one. (Thank you Ayn Rand)
The other thought I have is why would you want a photographer that doesn't want to shoot your wedding? Hello? Is there only one photographer in all of New Mexico? I can’t speak for that state, but here in sunny FL the vast majority of Photographers, DJs and other wedding professionals would be thrilled to get your business.
If you run into someone that doesn't want your business, move on. What do you get out of suing? No hearts or minds were ever changed with the use of force. If a photographer didn't want to shoot my wedding because I’m too old, too white or my nose is too big, I will be more than happy to give my hard earned money to someone who deserves it.