The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Swing anna miss!

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The case of the New Mexico photographer and the same-gender couple and who has what right was not heard by the Supreme Court.

So. Under the New Mexico law, this photographer can be forced to take pictures of weddings.

This. Is. Wrong. Fortunately, more cases are working their way up the system.

Photography is a defined, court-approved and common-law declared First Amendment right. SCOTUS settled this one in the Zapruder film case. Zapruder is the gent who filmed JFK's assassination. Scotus ruled in part, Mr. Z and his work were protected by the First Amendment. Photography is protected under US and international copyright law. It is free speech.

The flip side of free speech is the right to keep your damfool mouth shut. In other words, you can't be shut up AND you cannot be forced to say something.

THE RIGHT TO REFUSE

In the HuffPo article, an attorney is quoted.

"Tobias Barrington Wolff, a University of Pennsylvania law professor representing the couple, said 'no court in the United States has ever found that a business selling commercial services to the general public has a First Amendment right to turn away customers on a discriminatory basis.'"

Not true.

In fact, turning away customers on a discriminatory basis is codified in a number of laws. Here's a recent court case. Tobacco products may not be advertised in publications aimed at kids. Further, newspapers do have the right to refuse to sell advertising to businesses, people and etc. "While magazines, newspapers and other media outlets routinely decline to sell advertising space to competitors, magazines and newspapers do not generally operate under government-granted franchises."

This is speech. It comes under the First Amendment.

RIGHTS AND LEFTS

Does the couple in question have the right to get married? Yes. Their relationship is none of my business, none of your business and absolutely none of government's business.

Does the couple have a right to have their wedding announcement published in their local newspaper? Nope. Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns the press. You don't like it, buy your own press and start your own newspaper. More power to you. Me? I'd run it.

Does the photographer, as an artist, have the right to choose what to photograph? As photography is a protected First Amendment right, the answer is yes.

Does the photographer have the right to refuse to provide a commercial service to anyone she (in this case) chooses? I say yes. Some people say no.

Lemme ask you this: Whose rights are more important? The couple getting married OR the photographer? Careful how you answer as I reserve the right to take your answer and beat you bloody with it.

The correct answer is: Their rights are equal to start with. The couple has the right to get married. The photog has the right to not take pictures of the wedding.

However, the wedding photog has the right to say no to the request to take pictures. Wedding photos are not an essential matter like food, water, air and swearing at politicians. The couple has the right to boycott the photographer and state their case in public. They have the right to ask other people to boycott the photographer.

The public has the right to decide if the photographer should stay in business or close up show by spending money with that photog or with competitors. It's none of government's business.

SOME QUESTIONS

MM asked: Why is it that the fight over rights almost always turns into a removal of rights for one and an affirmation of rights for another. Why don't we realize that both have rights?

Indeed so. One person's rights were trampled while another's were given a superior position. This is wrong.

ACW stated, in partial response to MM, I agree. And why in the hell would you want to hire some on that CLEARLY doesn't want to do the work for whatever the reason?

Another excellent question. I don't have a solid answer (and the question may have been rhetorical). I can tell you if I, as a wedding photog (which I used to do) was forced to take wedding pictures, they'd be horrible and the price would be astronomical. For the record, I generally don't do wedding photography any more, except in very special cases, because it drives me insane. I officiate weddings and will do so for couples, trios, quads, etc. regardless of gender.


DISCRIMINATION

Some people are gonna draw parallels here between segregation and gay rights. They are partly right. Where discrimination is embedded in the law, it's generally wrong. Generally. Are some exceptions, to wit an egregious example: A 5 year old should not be allowed to have a commercial driver's license.

Where discrimination exist in business, a different matter. When a company chooses to discriminate for whatever reason, I support the right to do so. It's not government's business who gets to sit at the lunch counter. It. Is. Not.

At the same time, I give the same amount of support to the people protesting this. Bring economic and social pressures to bear, not legal forces, to make changes.

If the restaurant won't let some people sit at the counter, spread the word. Start protesting. When enough social and economic force is brought to bear, the business will change or close its doors.


That, ladies and gents, preserves everyone's rights equally.

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