I don’t think I have ever dealt with a political issue on this blog. In another life I do wedding photography and so I have been thinking about this one for a long time. Here is my two cents:
It is not that the Indiana Law is (RFRA) is pro-gay or anti-gay. It is that it is too vague and impossible for normal people to understand. And this is the real kicker: it fundamentally does not deal with the issue that needs to be clarified.
Is it OK for a wedding photographer to refuse to shoot a gay wedding ceremony? Can he or she be sued for refusing to do so?
Here is what I suggest.
- If you are open for business, you are open for business for everyone. If you serve the public, you serve gays, whites, black, old, young, Christians, atheists and Muslims. If you do photography, you shoot gay couples.
- There should be a narrow exception. There should be a conscientious objector clause. There should be a narrow exception to the above rule. You should not be required to participate in a gay wedding ceremony if you believe that the marrying of homosexuals is wrong. You should be able to register as a conscientious objector of gay marriage. This would exempt a photographer from being compelled to shoot gay weddings. It would exempt anyone in the wedding-support business from being compelled to service a Gay Wedding. This would include, but not be limited to the following service providers: photographers, wedding planners, caterers, D.J., etc. The status of conscientious objector could be publically displayed on websites and in a place of business.
Trying to put myself in the position of a position of a gay person, I think this is what I would want. I would not want someone who felt gay marriage was morally wrong to shoot my wedding. I would want to be able to find out this information without having to ask.
The intent of these laws has always been to protect minority groups. We need to be clear about who the minority is in this case. It is not those who support Gay Rights. They are clearly in the majority. The minority that needs to be protected are those who believe in the traditional Christian view of marriage. They should have the right to not be compelled to participate in something they believe to wrong.
A call to civility. It is my sincere hope that we can enter into this important debate with civility, respect and love.