George Will | The tangled web of conflicting rights

Elaine Huguenin, who with her husband operates Elane Photography in New Mexico, asks only to be let alone.

But instead of being allowed a reasonable zone of sovereignty in which to live her life in accordance with her beliefs, she is being bullied by people wielding government power.

In 2006, Vanessa Willock e-mailed Elane Photography about photographing a “commitment ceremony” that she and her partner were planning. Willock said that this would be a “same-gender ceremony.” Elane Photography responded that it photographed “traditional weddings.” The Huguenins are Christians who, for religious reasons, disapprove of same-sex unions. Willock sent a second e-mail asking whether this meant that the company “does not offer photography services to same-sex couples.” Elane Photography responded that “you are correct.”

Willock could then have said regarding Elane Photography what many same-sex couples have long hoped a tolerant society would say regarding them — “live and let live.” Willock could have hired a photographer with no objections to such events. Instead, Willock and her partner set out to break the Huguenins to the state’s saddle.

 

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