Ironically, a recent Supreme Court decision to ignore an appeal involving gay marriage was well received by the gay community. The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by a photographer in New Mexico who believed she was being wrongfully forced to work at a gay marriage. The court’s decision involved a question of legal superiority: should anti-discriminatory laws trump religious freedoms? Though the Supreme Court may have neglected some rights, it justly determined that declining business based on sexual orientation is unconstitutional.
The court’s decision may have ignored the right to religious freedom, but not to free speech. Specifically, in instances where the “artist” is directly profiting off a creation, the piece should not be considered an example of free speech. In other words, the photographer was selling her services, she was not selling her opinion of the wedding. Because she was not expressing an opinion but merely selling a service, she doesn’t have the legal right to discriminate against potential clients based on sexual orientation. Any couple, gay or straight, has the ability to buy her services as a photographer. Thus, the lower court’s decision cannot be overturned on the grounds of freedom of speech, because the photographer was profiting off the wedding. In a world where a photographer is not getting paid, he/she can choose which marriages to take photos at. Let’s not forget the unpaid photographer still needs an invitation…
From bakers rejecting cake orders to voluntary corporate resignations, gay marriage has lit controversy’s match. The controversy between supporters of same-sex marriage and their adversaries is rooted in the government’s control of marriage. The government is struggling with the definition of marriage. Is marriage a bond between a man and a woman, or two humans? Why not three people? Absurd in the abstract, polygamy appears just as same-sex marriage did years ago. In some religions, polygamy defies the “norms,” because multiple marriages serve a different purpose. The controversy exists because the government has taken on the role of deciding who can and who cannot get married.
Maybe, just maybe, the government shouldn’t have the right to choose who can get married. While the government has chosen to associate some benefits with marriage, such as tax benefits and citizenship rights, these benefits could be modified. Policies that incentivize marriage are a disadvantage to those who don’t or can’t get married. For instance, someone who does not get married has a reduced ability to become a citizen, because he/she will never marry to gain citizenship. If the government stopped dealing with marriages, marriages would still occur. People would still get married religiously, and those that do not practice a religion can just be together.
Well, that probably won’t happen. The government will choose who can and cannot get married for the rest of time. There will be crazy religious people complaining and suing-right and left- because their rights are being violated. Logically, the union of two people of the same gender down the street will not change anyone’s life. People will still go to church, and people will still take pictures, oftentimes selfies, to express themselves. And while refusing to service people is certainly the epitome of poor economics, people will still choose to reject service. Still, the Supreme Court decided that any couple should be able to get pictures at its wedding and have cake.
Don’t forget the cake.
[Image Attribute: NBC]