Thursday, August 22, 2013
Footnote 1 of today's opinion of the Supreme Court of New Mexico in Elane Photography, LLC v. Willock says that "[w]e use the terms 'wedding' and 'commitment ceremony' interchangeably." That posited interchangeability is what allows the court to use the words interchangeably throughout the rest of the opinion, as in the quotable (and quoted) statement that, "when Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the [New Mexico Human Rights Act] in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races." But suppose that there is a difference between a wedding and a commitment ceremony, in that a wedding celebrates a marriage while a commitment ceremony does not. The analogy to inter-racial weddings is then obviously inapt, right?
Consider, also, the following: "Elane Photography is primarily a wedding photography business. It provides wedding photography services to heterosexual couples, but it refuses to work with homosexual couples under equivalent circumstances." Couldn't Elane Photography argue that the circumstances are not equivalent because the commitment ceremony is not a wedding because it does not involve a marriage? The argument would be that because a commitment ceremony is not a wedding, Elane Photography is not discriminating in the "wedding photography business."