Let's make a believe that Steve Doocy walks into a Muslim owned drycleaner and the owners say that their religion prohibits them from cleaning his clothes because he is a Catholic. Do ya think that he would meekly accept that and just walk away? One suspects that Fox News and Fox Nation would be all over the story like flies on the metaphorical fecal matter that is a by product of a certain "fair & balanced" network. But now that a New Mexicocourt has ruled that a photographer, who refused to provide services for a same sex "commitment ceremony," based on her Christian religion, was guilty of discrimination based on state non-discrimination statutes. The right wing is whining about violation of religious freedom and Fox Radio's resident homophobe, Todd Starnes, claims that the court says that "gay rights trump religious rights." So are we surprised that Steve Doocy, who thinks discrimination is bad, is part of the Christian amen chorus who believe that discrimination against gays is just what the bible ordered.
This morning, on Fox & Friends, Doocy framed the agiptprop immediately when he reported that the "newest fight against faith reported that a New Mexico court ruled against a photo studio that refused to take pictures of same sex ceremony." (So rather than just reporting the court decision, Doocy defined it as part of the bogus Christian right/Fox News meme of the "war on Christianity.") He asked if private companies should be "forced to compromise their beliefs?" The chyron reinforced the message: "Faith or Discrimination? Private Business Forced to Compromise Beliefs."
Doocy's guest, attorney Vicky Ziegler explained that the court is saying that a private company is being held to the same standard as restaurants, hotels, and theater in that it is considered unlawful for these entities to discriminate. She added that the law now applies to "mom and pop" shops who will be penalized. Doocy sputtered that he doesn't agree with the court because "if you are in private business you can decide who you're going to, for instance, if you're a furniture company or something like that and your arch rival from the town shows up and they want that lazy boy and I don't want to sell it to them I don't think I should have to sell it to them." The chyron: "Losing Their Religion, Court: Biz Must Photograph Same Sex Ceremony." Ziegler noted that theNew Mexicostatute regarding "accommodation" encompasses all businesses involved in commerce. Doocy then tried to redeem himself by saying that discrimination, of any kind, is wrong" but in this case the "court is telling a private business who they can sell their service or goods to, that's gonna be a problem." (D'uuuh, if they're refusing to sell services and goods to gays, or any other protected class, that's called discrimination whether or not it's illegal. In this case, the statute is very clear.)
Ziegler predicted more suits and expressed concern for government "intruding on private businesses." Doocy added "a private business where owners have a religious compass and go can't do that because it's against my religion." Ziegler agreed that "all of sudden we're going to force people to things they don't want to do." Doocy said, with some glee, that the case is going to the Supreme Court.
So not selling to gays, for whatever reason, is just like a furniture company refusing to sell to a rival? And refusing to sell to gays, because of a "religious compass" isn't discrimination?
Is Steve Doocy an idiot or does he play one on TV?
Now, why this is so important is because the woman’s beliefs COULD very well have been used by her to refuse her services (which ARE made available to the public—they’re NOT “private”) to an interracial couple or even an interfaith couple (or even an interracial, atheist couple). NONE of those denials of service would be legal under ANY circumstances. But, she apparently believes that she has a “right” to refuse service to same-sex couples based solely on her religious beliefs. Heck, what if the bride—in a “traditional” male-female couple—wanted to wear a woman’s tuxedo instead of some Bridezilla creation? The photographer COULD assert her “religious beliefs” to refuse to take pictures. Would you find that an acceptable argument?
New Mexico has a Human Rights Act that “places of public accommodation not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation” (as a HuffPost article states). If you want to run and maintain a business in New Mexico, and you intend on “serving the public,” you HAVE to abide by this requirement. (I would guess that, if you simply take pictures as a sideline or hobby, you would be largely exempt from the requirement; presumably such an individual doesn’t advertise but instead relies on word-of-mouth, and presumably charges just a small fee. Kind of the way a person might be willing to bake cakes or cookies for fellow congregants or co-workers who, in turn, tell others about the person but who doesn’t really “make a living” out of the baking jobs but just does it in their spare time or to make a few extra dollars.)