In June we posted an article concerning how a photography studio denied service to a gay couple to have their wedding shot. That complete story is here, but let me just give you the highlights.
A gay couple sent in an email form from the photography studio's website inquiring about having their wedding shot. In that email they informed the photographers that this would be a gay ceremony. The answer came back they they had no availability for that date in question. Suspicious, the couple sent in another request posing as a straight couple. They were told they had availability and attempted the negotiation process.
The Gay couple initiated a lawsuit. Because under New Mexico law, and most every other state, denying service for sexual orientation if you are a "Public Accommodation" business, is illegal. Up until now, a public accommodation business has been considered to be hotels, restaurants, airlines, etc. But the state appellate court ruled that photography services fall under that as well.
This has set legal precedent that has far reaching implications in all 50 states.
The point of this story for me to bring to you is this: Many Christians have strong beliefs bout homosexuality. However, this belief alone cannot be used to determine if you should shoot a ceremony or not. Sorry. You can deny them for availability, or even say that after meeting with the potential client you determined that your personalities would clash and you would not be a good fit for them. We photographers do that daily. But based on sexual orientation, is not a valid reason in the eyes of the law. And if you get caught lying about it, like these two did, the resulting fall out could be very damaging to your finances and your business.
Well this follow up post is to let you know that the photographers in question have successfully been allowed yet another appeal by the New Mexico Supreme court. So the story is not over, and if denied by the State Supremes, the photographers have vowed to take this all the way to "THE" Supreme Court. They have not been given a court date as of yet, but we will of course follow this story as it progresses.
This is sure to get some people to never listen to me again, but oh well. I get asked my opinion on this all the time from Christian photographers. They know I am a christian because I don't hide it on the show. If that were not obvious enough, I link to my Christian ministry site called MP 3:16 right from the navbar up top. So they want to know what I think, and what I would do in this same situation. They want my advice. As beginning photographers, they did not consider that something that violates their religious views would have to be considered. They only think about how to get better and how to get more business. Not religious or moral debates with themselves.
So here is my opinion on the matter....
Christ himself said that we were to follow the law of the land. Period. He dealt with this in the story where Peter pulls a coin out of the mouth of a fish to pay taxes. It is pretty clear. You may think driving 35 miles per hour on that road is silly, but it is the law. Most who read this know that the speed limit on that highway they drive everyday is 70 mph, so they set their cruise control for 79mph knowing that cops only pull over people that go 10 miles per hour or faster over. They break the law in doing so, but justify that they will probably not get busted for it because it is so close. My question is, what is the difference? Nothing. The same bible that we Christians cling to so closely when judging other people's sins, also states that one sin is no greater than the other. James 2:10 is pretty clear here. Romans 3:21 goes further to say we are all sinners. Every slap dab one of us. Romans 7:5 says to remove the plank from your own eye so that you can see clearly how to remove the speck from your brother's eye. And there is this wonderful story how Jesus stood next to a prostitute who was about to be stoned death. You should read that one too. It's a good one. John 8:2-11
I could do this all day. It's clear. For christians everywhere, by the examples found through the Bible and Christ's own teaching and words, we should shoot the wedding just because it is the very act of showing love and denying being judgmental, -and- because we are to follow the law of the land.
Bottom line is, if I get asked, and there are no scheduling issues or personality conflicts (Bridezillas), then I shoot it. And I do the best job I can at it.
The next question I get is, well what do I do about people at my church frowning on me? If the preacher does not defend you publicly from the pulpit, then it's time to find another church. To do anything less is to allow gossiping and judgement to run rampant in the congregation and members. A preacher is to lead his people. To not defend you, would be denying the responsibilities of his post and be a lousy example to others.
Yeah I said that...
On top of that, we are to love one another. Period. Christ does not allow or condone any sin, but he does not win you to God through the fear of an eternal hell. He wins you through love. Think about that.
Alright I am done. Go ahead and rake me over the coals in the comments below.