Well, friends, I wish there were better news this Monday, but there isn't. I'm going to try to minimize the pain by keeping these notes relatively short. As usual, I'm always interested in reader comments on the direction the legal cases are likely to go or on legal technicalities. One can occasionally take hope from such things or, if not, at least distract oneself from just how bad things are by chewing over them. Some of these items you've doubtless seen elsewhere.
News item 1: In the Elane Huguenin case, the New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that under NM anti-discrimination laws, photographers must take pictures of homosexual commitment ceremonies, treating them as weddings.
Please note: NM does not recognize homosexual "marriage," yet apparently photographers do have to recognize homosexual "marriage" and treat purely private commitment ceremonies as equivalent to weddings, otherwise they are committing "discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation." If that makes sense to you, I can tell you that it makes no sense to me.
Even being a member of a "protected class" doesn't usually mean that you can force a photographer to celebrate just anything. If they'd wanted the photographer to take pictures of butchering a pig, presumably the fact that they are members of a "protected class" wouldn't mean that they could force a vegetarian photographer to comply. So why a private ceremony which isn't acknowledged to be a wedding under NM law? Beats me. I suppose it's supposed to be because that private ceremony was celebrating their status as lesbians. But it still doesn't seem to follow. Religious groups are protected from "discrimination on the basis of religion" under non-discrimination laws, but it doesn't follow that a photographer can be forced to help celebrate just any religious ceremony. For example, what if some religious group were (let's say legally) slaughtering a pig as part of a religious ceremony. Would the vegetarian photographer have to photograph the ceremony on pain of having "discriminated on the basis of religion"? What if some religious people were engaging in a sexual orgy and said that was part of their religion? Would the photographer have to take pornographic shots in order not to discriminate against their religion?
So it seems quite illogical to claim that the photographer had to take pictures of a lesbian commitment ceremony just because the lesbians happen to consider this commitment ceremony to be an important expression of their sexual orientation.
However, let's face it: That's what non-discrimination ordinances are ultimately about when applied to homosexuality--forcing people to endorse it. I guess this is just an admission of that.
Here's a question: My state of Michigan has a constitutional amendment forbidding the government from recognizing anything other than one-man-one-woman marriage as a marriage or marriage-like union for any purpose whatsoever. (Yes, this also means that the state cannot enact a civil unions law.) Would something that unequivocal in the state constitution block an interpretation of non-discrimination laws that forces people in the wedding business (wedding coordinators, bakers, photographers, etc.) to participate in homosexual ceremonies? One would like to think so.
News item 2: In the U.S. Air Force a lesbian superior officer tried to force her assistant to agree with her in punishing a still more junior man for expressing his views against homosexual "marriage." When the assistant wouldn't state that he agreed with her, she indicated that she couldn't work with him, and he's subsequently been let go. Stating your opinion against homosexual "marriage" in the Air Force is committing discrimination, quoth the lesbian officer. The test acts are here. Say shibboleth or have your career ruined.
News item 3: This one is really bizarre. A federal judge in Massachusetts has allowed a lawsuit to go to trial against an American pro-marriage advocate who spoke in Uganda against homosexual rights. The claim is that he may have committed a "crime against humanity" by doing so and that this could be tried here in the U.S. under something called the "Alien Tort Statute." What's that you say? Any such suit is clearly in conflict with the First Amendment? Well, yes, it certainly seems so. We'll hope this thing is killed and a stake driven through its heart at trial, but the fact that it's going to trial at all is deeply troubling. Why should similar suits for "crimes against humanity" under "international law" not be brought against anyone in the U.S. who speaks out against gay rights?
What think you, legal eagles? This seems like a frivolous suit. What will its fate be? Will it set a bad precedent that it has gone to trial at all? What sort of chilling effect will such an "international consensus" be allowed to have in the U.S.? Will the First Amendment have any protective effect?
News item 4: I can hardly bring myself to write this one. Jody Bottum, former editor of First Things, has come out in favor of homosexual "marriage." In a long and muddled "argument" (the scare quotes really are necessary), all of which I do not claim to have read, he says that opposing homosexual "marriage" won't help in the "re-enchantment of the world" and that, since marriage is meaningless, or disenchanted, or something, the "valid claims of fairness and equality" require us to extend it to homosexuals. That last one has to be one of the great non sequitur saltations of all time. Bottum doesn't tell us how celebrating sodomy in the name of justice will actually help in the "re-enchantment of the world." Hopefully someone else here will have heart to write more about this. I'm wimping out.
And finally, just because I find it a striking story, though it has nothing to do with anything else, News Item 5: Turns out that back in 1973 when Billie Jean King "defeated" alleged "male chauvinist pig" Bobby Riggs, Riggs actually threw the match. The mafia (!) paid him to do so in a scheme to make money on bets. (I gather there's no evidence that Billie Jean King was in on the fix.)
What do you want to bet that this little tidbit of feminist history will not make it hot off the presses into Women's Studies classes?
And that's a wrap on our Bad News Monday for this week.