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Supreme Court to consider this week whether it will hear Elane Photography case

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

On Friday, March 21, the Supreme Court will consider whether it will hear Elane Photography v. Willock, a case involving a New Mexico public accommodations law that bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. A photography business in the state violated the public accommodations law when it refused to photograph a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony (before same-sex marriage was legal in the state.) The state supreme court ruled against the business when it challenged the application of that law to its business on First Amendment grounds.

Elane Photography argues that its business creates speech, and since they are opposed to same-sex marriage, photographing a same-sex commitment ceremony would force them to create speech with which they disagree. The business argues that it would have performed “other services” for gays and lesbians.

The New Mexico Supreme Court held that the business is only “compelled” to create speech favoring same-sex couples to the extent that they create speech and provide services for anyone else, as a photography business. And that court said the business badly misconstrued the issue:

Elane Photography has misunderstood this issue. It believes that because it is a photography business, it cannot be subject to public accommodation laws. The reality is that because it is a public accommodation, its provision of services can be regulated, even though those services include artistic and creative work. If Elane Photography took photographs on its own time and sold them at a gallery, or if it was hired by certain clients but did not offer its services to the general public, the law would not apply to Elane Photography’s choice of whom to photograph or not. The difference in the present case is that the photographs that are allegedly compelled by the NMHRA are photographs that Elane Photography produces for hire in the ordinary course of its business as a public accommodation. This determination has no relation to the artistic merit of photographs produced by Elane Photography. If Annie Leibovitz or Peter Lindbergh worked as public accommodations in New Mexico, they would be subject to the provisions of the [public accommodations law].

The state supreme court decision is apparently what prompted the anti-gay bill passed in Arizona, SB 1062. Governor Brewer vetoed the bill.

It takes four votes (out of nine Justices) to review a case on the merits.

65 Comments

  • 1. Lymis  |  March 19, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Wow. I'd so rather have this issue reach the Supreme Court via a baker or florist or limo service or Sears Photo Studio photographer rather than a wedding photographer, because as much as I absolutely support non-discrimination in business, I think that wedding photography, as well as things like custom architecture and graphic art work of certain kinds, really does rely in part on both the artistic sensibility of the artist and the connection between artist and client.

    Not that wedding photographers should get a pass, but I'd rather see this issue at the Supreme Court as a second or third wave case, once the basic issues of balancing religious belief and public accommodation get dealt with.

    It's far easier to discuss the merits of a claim that the same cake you would make in the same bakery for different clients who simply arrive to take it away is not an issue of religious liberty, and fine tune things like whether you can be compelled to put two groom figures on top. The case where the bakery was willing to stock rainbow cupcakes routinely and bake special orders for religious children's programs but refused to sell the identical cupcakes to a gay-straight alliance is a perfect example – that's not about refusing a certain form of expression, and entirely about discriminating based on the customer.

    I think that there are some fundamental basic principles that have to be nailed down before it's the right time for something as fuzzy as the wedding photographer issue – as well as being able to make the distinctions between "this is the constitutional protection regardless of the law" and "this is what the local law says, so you are bound by it" that will be murkier in this sort of case.

    Still, this sort of thing is inevitable. I just wish this wasn't the Court that would be considering it.

  • 2. davep  |  March 19, 2014 at 10:15 am

    But the amount of artistic expression in the work is not the issue here, and is not relevant to the legal question. The point is that it is a business that is open to the general public, operating on the basis of inviting the general public to hire the business, and when you run a business on that basis, you are subject to those public accommodation laws. As the quote in the article clarifies, if the business were run on a different basis that did not involve offering its services to the general public, the legal issue may be different.

  • 3. Lymis  |  March 20, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Thanks for the lecture. I understand the legal issues. That was my point. Sometimes the problem is that the laws are not properly crafted, and sometimes the laws are not properly crafted because the underlying legal principles aren't sufficiently clear.

    I have no doubt that bare bigotry underlay the decision not to take the job. I have no doubt that the court correctly interpreted the law and applied it to this case. But when you start getting to the Supreme Court, the question becomes one of the actual Constitutional issues and the borders between things like private religious belief and public accommodation.

    There's no question, for example, what the anti-gay laws about sodomy or the bans on civil marriage equality say (and said). If it was purely a matter of "here's the law, you broke the law, shut up and go home" sodomy would still be illegal in much of the US, and DOMA would still be untouched.

    We can't say that principle and fundamental constitutional guarantees outrank the law when it benefits us, but is cut and dried and "shut up and read the law, you bigot" when that's what benefits us.

    And, as I said, I'd far rather see the first major Supreme Court case(s) be ones where the issue is far clearer – and they are much easier to clearly delineate in things like floral arrangements and cake baking – where, even if you argue whether or not there is artistic expression and expressive speech, it doesn't directly involve the interaction of the vendor and the customer in the process of producing the item in anything resembling the interaction of photographer and subject.

    I agree that the law is clear. I'm not certain that the law is as justified and that the principles that underlie it are as cut and dried in cases like wedding photography or custom graphic design as it is in other areas. As I said, I'd like those much cleaner bright lines clearly established as SCOTUS precedent before the Roberts Court gets its mitts on something like this, because I don't trust them.

    The risk is that they'll find an exception for a wedding photographer and issue a ruling that broadly erases public accommodation protections along with it, rather than what feels safe to me to have those clearer accommodations locked down solidly and then let the courts tussle with the fuzzier issues at the edges.

    It's disingenuous to say there are no differences, because it's perfectly possible to bake and decorate cakes or make floral arrangements that people can simply buy out of the cooler in the store, and "make me one of those that has different names on it" is pretty darn basic. But you can't take wedding photographs without direct interaction with the wedding party, and you can't take wedding photos and put them in a bin for people to take home for their own weddings.

    The point is that where that line gets drawn and how it interacts with other laws is exactly what the courts are there to navigate – and I'd rather the Roberts Court had a few cleaner precedents to set before they deal with the tough ones. If they aren't willing to agree we are actually citizens under the 14th Amendment, relying on them not to carve sweeping religious exemptions isn't a comforting thought.

  • 4. davep  |  March 20, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Hi Lymus. It wasn't meant as a 'lecture', and sorry if it came off that way. It was simply a comment about how I viewed the issue. To me, the underlying principle is the public accommodation issue, which hinges on the way a business offers its goods and services to the public, and the relative level of artistry involved in the work is not relevant to the legal matter at all. Of course we both would want scotus to rule on the right basis, and in the right way. I just don't see this case as being any more problematic than any other, simply because it's photography instead of some other type of business.

  • 5. jonwilke  |  March 20, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    "I have no doubt that bare bigotry underlay the decision not to take the job."

    Have you ever met the photographer?

    How dare you slander! That's a crime too.

  • 6. Mike in Baltimore  |  March 20, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    And your evidence that it was not a bigoted, anti-homosexual, decision?

    Oh, that's correct, you presented none, probably because none exists.

  • 7. Jon  |  March 20, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Have you even read their email correspondence with the couple?

  • 8. davep  |  March 20, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    And it seems to me that this issue of how the photographer felt about the situation, like the question of 'how much artistry is involved' is not relevant. I don't see how it matters if the photographer was taking sadistic delight in offending the couple, or if the photographer truly felt heartbroken at having to turn down the job due to personal faith-based beliefs, and it doesn't matter if we as observers and commenters have a basis for concluding that either of those is the case. What matters is whether the public accommodation law is just, and whether the photographer violated it.

  • 9. Mike in Baltimore  |  March 20, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    If you have evidence, present it. We'll (at least I will – I won't speak for others) consider it.

    If no evidence is presented, I presume that there is none.

  • 10. Jon Wilke  |  March 21, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Let me Google that for you. Sorry. I have better things to do than argue with people who love to argue for the sake of arguing. The evidence is easily found. Your logic for making a photographer participate in an event that goes against their religion is not.

  • 11. Mike in Baltimore  |  March 21, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    "The evidence is easily found."

    So, if it's easily found, please present it.

    Since you haven't presented any evidence, I doubt if there is any evidence. Otherwise, since you say it can easily be found, you would have presented it, if for no other reason than to attempt to stop this discussion. After all, presenting evidence is one of the best methods to win an argument, correct?

  • 12. jonwilke  |  April 16, 2014 at 10:53 am

    There isn't any evidence for intelligent life in this discussion either. Who says I'm trying to win an argument?

    Asking reasonable questions is a reasonable thing to do with reasonable people. Urging people to look at the evidence themselves is also reasonable. Neither of them are allowed here.

  • 13. Deeelaaach  |  March 22, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    I can only say that I know the evidence exists. An online article whose source I cannot remember indicates that questioning of the wife indicates she carefully couches her answers at the very least. Or she simply does not feel about it as strongly as the husband. The husbands answers on the other hand, if I recall correctly, were not as careful and did appear to show more animus. In my opinion that is. This was an article that may have also showed the email content which I have also read.

    As to the source of the article, it may have been Huffpost, but I can't be sure of that. I read the Gay Voices part of Huffpost a lot, along with this site. So that could have been a source of that article, or I could have linked to it from there. If I can, I'll look it up and post it.

  • 14. Deeelaaach  |  March 22, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    I found the articles (from Slate.com) – one includes the email conversation between the two parties and the other shows stuff from questioning by attorneys. Now I have no idea how to find the actual source of the questioning whether it be a deposition or questioning in court – that would be the ultimate source.

    I'm saying I can't vet the articles I've read. I wouldn't know where to begin. Maybe someone else here does. So I can't say this is proof – I can only say it is something I read.

    Email exchanges: http://www.slate.com/blogs/saletan/2014/03/07/gay

    Questioning (under oath?): http://www.slate.com/blogs/saletan/2014/03/11/gay

  • 15. jonwilke  |  April 16, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Thank you for taking some time to find some articles. Now try to find something not from an agenda-driven source.

  • 16. Guest  |  April 16, 2014 at 11:41 am

    lol, right, reprinting emails verbatim truly skews their content.

  • 17. Paul  |  March 19, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I'd rather just get this over with. It doesn't matter if you bake cakes, take photgroaphs, or paint pictures. If you offer your services to the public, you can't refuse to refuse to photograph, bake, or paint for certain people just because you don't agree with them.

    Elane Photography is still free to stage a gallery show where all they show are pictures of opposite sex couples. They are still free to stand on the street corner and spew their religious beliefs about marriage. Frankly, they are still free to refuse to take photos of gay couples provided that they pay the associated fine, which was only a few thousand dollars.

    Their REAL first amendment rights aren't affected in the least.

  • 18. Dr. Z  |  March 19, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Just a wild guess, but I'd wager SCOTUS won't take this one. My bet is that they want to let the issue percolate awhile among the circuit courts in the wake of their impending decision in the Hobby Lobby case, whatever it is.

  • 19. DrPatrick1  |  March 19, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    They did not refuse to photograph a gay wedding, as such a thing was illegal in NM at the time. They refused a committment ceremony which had no legal meaning. In essence, they simply refused to photograph this couple because they were gay. It wouldn't be right if it were a wedding, but it wasn't even a wedding. This is clearly an issue of public accommodation and wether such a law can trump an individual's right to discriminate. We all agree the government is constitutionally barred from discrimination (though we may argue about what constitutes discrimination) yet also agree that personal discriminatory acts and thoughts are permissible. But what is at issue is whether individual's discriminatory acts in the public sphere can be prohibited. You don't want to offer services to the public, then don't offer services to the public. If you offer services to the public, you must offer those services to the public. Seems like a pretty fair operating principle to me

  • 20. Steve  |  March 19, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    I get what you mean, but it was still a wedding. A wedding is just a ceremony. Whether the marriage is legally recognized is another matter entirely.

    People have weddings without the legal papers all the time. Straight ones too.

  • 21. KarlS  |  March 20, 2014 at 7:00 am

    An interesting observation…which makes me wonder: is a marriage conducted without any 'ceremony' whatsoever also considered a wedding? I mean, is it possible to have one without the other (in the so-called 'traditional' sense, that is)?

  • 22. Steve  |  March 20, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Depends on what how strictly define "wedding" I guess. With a judge for example you can have an extremely minimized process where you just sign papers and both only say "I do".

    I think a ceremony shouldn't be required at all. You should be able to get married just by signing some papers.

  • 23. KarlS  |  March 20, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    At one point, a "common law" marriage was considered perfectly legal in my state (Oklahoma) if it was established by a simple "holding out" by the parties involved…that is, just basically telling (one, two or more?) people "We are married". It sure seems like that would comply with the concept of "traditional" we hear so much from the defenders of that "tradition".

  • 24. Mike in Baltimore  |  March 20, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Each state has different requirements, but basically there are five steps to a valid common law marriage:
    1. It must be accomplished in a state that recognizes such marriages (but once accomplished, all states recognize it);
    2. The people entering into a common law marriage MUST live together for the time specified in the state's law. That time period can be a few months to several years;
    3. Each party to a common law marriage must consent to the marriage;
    4. The parties to a common law marriage must have a 'reputation' in the community as husband and wife;
    5. The parties to a common law marriage must meet ALL other requirements for marriage, such as age, residency, etc.

    As for 'traditional', those who use that word have NEVER explained the term to me. Traditional since the SCOTUS decision in the Loving case? Traditional since the Mormons gave up 'plural marriage' (1890), even though to this day in Muslim practice, a man can have as many as four wives if he can support them and any resulting offspring? Traditional, since arranged marriages were prohibited world-wide (ongoing to this day in various societies)? Traditional, as described in their bibble's Old Testament, where a man might marry one or 700 women, his wife's sister, a man's own daughter, his own mother, etc.?

  • 25. Deeelaaach  |  March 22, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    People sometimes present things one way to one party and a different way to another party. I do this and I know I am not alone – we show different faces to different people, but probably because our interactions with different folks are, well, different. My point is we don't know why the couple called it a commitment ceremony. The real question is how did they view the above mentioned ceremony – as a commitment ceremony or a wedding ceremony, and if they viewed it as a wedding, why did they refer to it otherwise? And yes, I can think of valid answers to that question one being fear of discrimination against marriage equality versus commitment ceremonies/DPs etc. If that question has been answered much less asked, I'm not aware of it. Then again, there's a lot I'm not aware of.

    But I agree – the emails between the parties do say "commitment ceremony" and "same-gender ceremony." Regardless, was it a marriage by another name – perhaps one more acceptable to some parties than another? So this may largely be a question of semantics based on the emails alone.

  • 26. Kevin  |  March 19, 2014 at 10:25 am

    (Stupid) People have sincerely held religious beliefs that two individuals of different races should not marry. Nobody would suggest that it should be legal to allow those individuals to deny services to interracial couples.

  • 27. KarlS  |  March 19, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    You're mistaken. There are, unfortunately, a lot of people who would suggest exactly that.

  • 28. Mike in Baltimore  |  March 19, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Like the Justice of the Peace in Louisiana, who directed such couples to another JP?

    He was forced to resign from being a JP, and prohibited from performing marriage ceremonies of any kind, and that was the state (albeit under threat of Federal government intervention if the state did not act).

  • 29. Rick2L  |  March 19, 2014 at 10:30 am

    How 'artistic' are wedding pictures? Aside from that edge-fogging effect that I suppose makes them more 'dreamy'.

  • 30. Michael Grabow  |  March 19, 2014 at 10:44 am

    For the amount of money they charge, I'm sure they'd have you believe they are Ansel Adams.

  • 31. sfbob  |  March 19, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    You bring up an interesting distinction. Ansel Adams was not some guy who rented a storefront and purchased ads in the Yellow Pages. He created most of his pictures of his own volition and exercised enormous and very strict control over the results. He was, in fact, an artist. If you wanted a more apt comparison to this case you might look at Robert Maplethorpe, since he photographed people (though not exclusively). His subjects tended to be people he knew, not strangers who asked him to photograph an event on a fee-for-service basis.

  • 32. Dr. Z  |  March 19, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    The distinction between an artist and a wedding photographer is that the artist creates a work based on a personal aesthetic, and then sells it. The photographer does it the other way around.

  • 33. Straight Ally #3008  |  March 19, 2014 at 11:00 am

    How likely is it that SCOTUS would take up, let alone overrule, a unanimous state supreme court decision?

    Throw the book at these wannabe martyrs. So sick of them.

  • 34. Kevin  |  March 19, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Yeah there is 0 chance of cert. This case is a loser.

  • 35. Sagesse  |  March 19, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    The best possible outcome would be for SCOTUS to deny cert. But I would never presume to know for sure which way they'll jump.

  • 36. David Hart  |  March 19, 2014 at 11:19 am

    In theory, Justice Scalia made it impossible for the Court to take this case given his opinion, for the majority, in Employment Division v. Smith. Therein he said that the Court has never entertained religious exemptions to otherwise valid laws and that to provide these renders laws unenforceable.

  • 37. Steve  |  March 19, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Never underestimate Scalia's opinion to twist the law – and even his own previous opinions – to suit his ideology.

  • 38. Steve  |  March 19, 2014 at 11:37 am

    *ability

    Grrr

  • 39. Retired lawyer  |  March 19, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    The wedding photographer creates speech through the artistry of his work, or so it is alleged; but florists and cake decorators exercise a degree of artistry too, for their presentations to the public. Consider also interior designers, tailors, event planners, funeral directors, beauticians, architects, and expand this list as much as you like to include those whose work involves some artistry. Now, consider the plausible religious objections that a service provider could raise: dietary, hats or no hats, marriage following divorce, marriage outside "the" church, a burial in clothing other than a shroud or after three days, cremation rather than burial. Use "can or worms" or choose your own metaphor. I cannot see the Justices granting cert.

  • 40. KarlS  |  March 19, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    It could be argued, with IMO a fair amount of credulity, that a Barista at Starbucks employs discernable artistry in the preparation of a fancy latte'…

    (while we're at it…your conclusion is spot on)

  • 41. Lymis  |  March 20, 2014 at 7:44 am

    I think that the principle, if we ever actually resolve this down to that level, is the degree of collaboration required in the actual process of producing the product. Not allowing the producer to turn away a customer for what they will make on their own (even if the parameters like size, shape, and color are set by the customer) is different from requiring the baker to let the customer into the shop and mix the batter.

    I think the degree of "artistry" will be set aside as the defining legal issue, but that forcing the service provider to work intimately with the customer will likely take on more importance.

    You can make a hotel rent a room regardless of to whom, but you can't make them sit in the room and watch them have sex, or to participate in it.

    That's why there's a difference between a Sears Photo studio and a wedding photographer – there is far more interactivity involved.

    Don't get me wrong, every wedding photographer SHOULD be happy to photograph gay weddings. Anyone who isn't is a cruddy person. But that's a different issue.

  • 42. Mike in Baltimore  |  March 21, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    My second step-father was, by occupation, a welder.

    When the church he attended (in Indiana) built a new church building, he welded a large cross installed in the interior front of the church sanctuary, and a large candelabra that was installed above the sanctuary.

    The cross and candelabra (both made of several materials) involved lots of artistry on the part of my step-father, even though he had zero training in 'artistry'. And before he died (in 2004), he was a supporter of the rights of the GLBT community, including ME.

    I also don't see SCOTUS granting cert. I have to wonder, though, if oral arguments are heard and a decision is handed down, I can't see a decision going against the GLBT community, and it probably would help more in eliminating the attempts in various states to pass into law discriminatory bills than just denying cert.

  • 43. sfbob  |  March 19, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    The photography of weddings (or bar mitzvahs) is hardly "high art." It involves rather standardized formats and settings. Any competent photographer should know how to photograph a wedding in a professional manner regardless of the identities or genders of the people being married. To claim that one is "creating art" instead of what one is actually doing–providing a service which is advertised as being available to the public–is utterly duplicitous. If Elane Photography did all their work by private commission they might conceivably have a case; if they get their business by advertising they do not.

  • 44. sfbob  |  March 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Just to be clear: It's entirely possible that the proprietor of Elane Photography is more than capable of producing artistic work that could appropriately displayed at a gallery and sold in limited editions. But that is not a wedding photography gig; it's something quite separate.

  • 45. Dr. Z  |  March 19, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    It does raise an interesting philosophical issue between artist and artisan. But from a legal standpoint, I think David Hart and Retired Lawyer nailed it.

  • 46. Reformed  |  March 19, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Is there any distinction in "public accommodation" between a business where the customer comes to the business (hotel, food truck, bakery) and a business where the business goes to the customer (presumably a wedding photographer would go to a venue at an appointed time). The former seems to be more of a public accommodation, and certain issues would resolve, such as a bakery could not be required to stock same sex couple cake toppers, but neither could they bar a gay person from buying one their cakes (and making the addition). I am not comfortable with requiring anyone to (travel to and) participate( however limited that participation is) in something they object to, particularly activities that are celebrations of something that they object to. Would we require a Jewish photographer to enter a Christian church to photograph a same sex ceremony? Maybe the concept of public accommodation needs to be refined.

  • 47. Colleen  |  March 19, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    No. Attending a Hindu festival does not make you Hindi. Being a guest at a Jewish Seder does not make you Jewish. Being present at a Muslim prayer service does not convert you to Islam. Visiting a Buddhist shrine does not make you Buddhist. Being present at a church service does not make you a Christian. Catering or photographing a gay wedding may be personally distasteful to some people, but it does not affect their spiritual life in any way.

    A professional whose work takes them to a variety of wedding celebrations, many of them part of a religious ceremony, does not compromise their faith by the mere fact of being wedding-adjacent. If a Christian photographer doesn't want to photograph ceremonies that are not part of their personal denomination, they should take their business name out of the phone book and advertise by putting up flyers in the church basement.

  • 48. montezuma58  |  March 20, 2014 at 4:17 am

    It doesn't really matter if the customer comes to the provider or the provider comes to the customer. By your premise an shop that fixes air conditioners would not be able to refuse to sell parts to a person who came to their premise to buy a part but could refuse to go to say a Buddhist persons home to perform a repair under the guise it burdens the repairman's religious liberty.

    The problem with carving out exceptions is that it puts the government in the business of defining the parameters of what is and isn't considered religious. How can they say the photographer or florists gets to have the ability to factor their customers religion into picking who to deal with but the business that rents tables does not? How does the government get to say wedding related businesses get a pass on religious discrimination and other business domains do not? The problem is that what one person considers mundane and perfunctory another person might consider deeply expressive and spiritual. Having the government codify such individual distinctions is problematic for a society that values both freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

    Similar religious liberty arguments against public accommodation laws were shot down in the civil rights era. Such religious exceptions basically have no limiting principals and would render such laws toothless. Back then refusing service to certain people was a systemic method to keeps certain groups from full participation in society. The scale and scope may not be as large when discussing this in relation to gays and lesbians. But the underlying sentiment is the same.

  • 49. Christian  |  March 20, 2014 at 1:56 am

    Does anyone know in the injunction on SB 1172 has been lifted?

  • 50. Christian  |  March 20, 2014 at 1:56 am

    *if

  • 51. Luke  |  March 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    As far as I'm aware, no 🙁

  • 52. Wondering  |  March 20, 2014 at 2:53 am

    In other news, the newly-installed Chilean government headed by President Michelle Bachelet designates same-sex civil unions as a legislative priority, forcing the issue to be discussed in congress within 30 days. Quite a big step for a country that only legalized divorce in 2004!

    Link here: http://santiagotimes.cl/government-announces-prio

  • 53. Pat  |  March 20, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Yes, the president is even in favor of same-sex marriage and previously said she would seek to legalize it. http://www.aciprensa.com/noticias/bachelet-quiere
    Now it seems that this may prove too ambitious for the parliament and she has settled on civil unions instead

  • 54. Guest  |  March 20, 2014 at 8:05 am

    The majority of South American countries are light years ahead of America on this issue. The continent didn't devolve into the obsessive Christian industrial hate machine that thrives here in America, and in addition to that, the entire Republican party is currently and officially advocating for our discrimination in its manifesto. Conversely, I don't know if it's true that Chile legalized divorce less than 10 years ago, but the U.S. had sodomy laws in effect 10 years ago. America is not all that.

  • 55. Steve  |  March 20, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    It helped that the Catholic Church aligned itself with every fascist and totalitarian regime that ever ruled there. Same in Spain.

  • 56. JayJonson  |  March 20, 2014 at 7:44 am

    I just read an article in the Detroit News about the imminence of Judge Friedman's decision in the Michigan marriage case. One of the persons quoted in the article is the clerk of Macomb County. She said that she was ready to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. I loved the way she referred to marriage equality: "If marriage liberty is expanded. . . ." I thought as it read it, she has it exactly right. The whole struggle for marriage equality is a struggle for liberty.

    All those Republicans who keep talking about liberty should be on the right side of history. Alas, they only want liberty for themselves to discriminate against us.

    The url for the article is below:

    "http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140319/POLITICS02/303190034

  • 57. Bill  |  March 20, 2014 at 7:48 am

    'All those Republicans who keep talking about liberty' should be sewn in a bag and tossed in the river.

  • 58. Rose  |  March 20, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Has a ruling been made? or is this just an article about the Clerks regarding the issue of issuing marriage licenses?

  • 59. Rose  |  March 20, 2014 at 9:05 am

    If SCOTUS was to take her case and eventually rule in her favor……then ANTI-DISCRIMINATION laws and policies would become IRRELEVANT and be open for chaos in a lawful society.

    One could theoretically deny ANY service based on one's appearance, hair color, or ANY number of other trivial items……basically Jim Crow like behavior would become acceptable again……and frankly in my opinion……SCOTUS is NOT going to let that happen……..the ramifications of legally allowing discrimination based on a person's whim is just NOT likely to be granted……because it's NOT just about denying services to Gays and Lesbians BUT to ANYONE someone wants to based on some pretense of held beliefs!!!

    Elaine's Photography has LOST at every previous court level and I DON'T see her prevailing here either.

    JMPO!

  • 60. Christian  |  March 21, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Given Kennedy's ruling in 'Romer', we may actually look forward to SCOTUS instituting a nation-wide precedent affirming the constitutionality of antidiscrimination laws. Then the battle would be confined to state legislatures and we could rely on 'Romer' to preserve existing rights and push harder for the Federal ENDA instead of the current state-by-state approach we've been taking since 1983.

    Then again, Kennedy could pull a 'BSA v. Dale' on us.

  • 61. Josh  |  March 21, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    When will they decide if they'll take the case?

  • 62. Mike in Baltimore  |  March 21, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    The decision on whether SCOTUS will grant cert was scheduled to take place today. The announcement of the decision will come on Monday, March 24, 2014. That announcement will be of those cases where cert is granted, along with a list of those cases cert where cert was not granted.

    Of course, SCOTUS might decide to delay considering cert, but that decision will not be announced, but become apparent with the announcement on Monday.

  • 63. Equality On TrialSupreme &hellip  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:10 am

    […] Court held a conference on Friday, their first opportunity to look at Elane Photography v. Willock, challenging the application of a public accommodations law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and […]

  • 64. Equality On TrialBREAKING&hellip  |  April 7, 2014 at 6:47 am

    […] Court had considered the petition over several conferences, and this morning, they officially denied certiorari, meaning […]

  • 65. test&hellip  |  August 11, 2014 at 11:35 am

    test

    Equality On TrialSupreme Court to consider this week whether it will hear Elane Photography case » Equality On Trial

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