Monday, April 07, 2014

SCOTUS Denies Cert In Important Anti-LGBT Rights Case

Good news out of the United States Supreme Court today! The high court decided not to hear arguments in the case of Elane Photography v. Willock where the New Mexico State Supreme Court had ruled that the denial of photographic services  to a same-sex couple who wanted their commitment ceremony  by a private firm violated the state's anti-discrimination ordinance. The private company who denied the services appealed the unanimous state Supreme Court ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying  that being forced to photograph the same-sex commitment ceremony violated their religious beliefs and should trump the public accommodations section of New Mexico's human rights law.

Slate reports and analyzes this case:
"The court has: A) reaffirmed the status quo [the justices still haven't stated that religious objections can be used to override anti-discrimination laws], and B) relieved gay rights activists, who dearly hoped the court would stay away from this case. It's just too messy. By my count, it involves at least four separate issues: Hybrid rights [i.e., free speech rights combined with free exercise rights]; compelled speech; photography-as-speech; and a religious objection to anti-discrimination statutes. It's just too much for one case."
LGBT groups are definitely happy that SCOTUS took a pass on this case, because the question of whether religious freedom can trump anti-discrimination statutes has still not been addressed by the high court. And with the Court currently considering whether corporations have religious freedom exercise
rights which exempt them from Obamacare provisions, this a question people in favor of LGBT equality are not confident would turn out the way we want.

Hat/tip to Joe.My.God

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