Photographer faces law suit

Started Aug 23, 2013 | Discussions
G  K
G K
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Photographer faces law suit
Aug 23, 2013

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/06/elaine-huguenin-photograp_n_1572676.html

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Buck
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KariIceland
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Re: Photographer faces law suit
In reply to G K, Aug 23, 2013

G K wrote:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/06/elaine-huguenin-photograp_n_1572676.html

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Buck
Write your troubles in sand, carve your blessings in stone.

To be honest I agree that the lawyer should be sued, you are a PHOTOGRAPHER, a WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER, It is your JOB to photograph a wedding! You are in BUSINESS! You should NEVER mix PERSONAL stuff with BUSINESS! If you do you are TERRIBLE at business.

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jkoch2
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Clever Business
In reply to KariIceland, Aug 23, 2013

KariIceland wrote:

G K wrote:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/06/elaine-huguenin-photograp_n_1572676.html

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Buck
Write your troubles in sand, carve your blessings in stone.

To be honest I agree that the lawyer should be sued, you are a PHOTOGRAPHER, a WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER, It is your JOB to photograph a wedding! You are in BUSINESS! You should NEVER mix PERSONAL stuff with BUSINESS! If you do you are TERRIBLE at business.

A savvy person who does not want a piece of business, for whatever reason, will simply quote a high price, insist on 100% advance payment, claim that schedule does not permit, or concoct some counter-claim that the client had a bad credit rating or history of threats and litigious behavior.

On the other hand, the plaintiff may be guilty of discrimination against the mainy GLT photographers in the area turned down for the business without due reason or bid kiss-off.

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geoffmalter
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Re: Photographer faces law suit
In reply to KariIceland, Aug 23, 2013

KariIceland wrote:

G K wrote:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/06/elaine-huguenin-photograp_n_1572676.html

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Buck
Write your troubles in sand, carve your blessings in stone.

To be honest I agree that the lawyer should be sued, you are a PHOTOGRAPHER, a WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER, It is your JOB to photograph a wedding! You are in BUSINESS! You should NEVER mix PERSONAL stuff with BUSINESS! If you do you are TERRIBLE at business.

Are you serious??! One of the joys of being self employed is being able to choose who you want to do business with. And I laud her for her honesty as to why, even though I don't necessarily agree with her reason. Successful business people do not have to work with everyone who crosses their path. Unsuccessful ones usually do because they have to put food on the table.

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drj3
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Re: Clever Business
In reply to jkoch2, Aug 24, 2013

A savvy person who does not want a piece of business, for whatever reason, will simply quote a high price, insist on 100% advance payment, claim that schedule does not permit, or concoct some counter-claim that the client had a bad credit rating or history of threats and litigious behavior.

On the other hand, the plaintiff may be guilty of discrimination against the mainy GLT photographers in the area turned down for the business without due reason or bid kiss-off.

If you are charged with discrimination, then you are going to be required to prove that your fees are like those you charged others, that you required others to give 100% advance payment or that you had specific things scheduled prior to the request.  If you run a business for the public in NM, then you can not refuse to serve people based on sexual orientation any more than a restaurant or business can refuse to serve a person on the basis of race or ethnic group.  However, I cannot image why a gay couple would want photographers who were biased since I don't know how they could ever be satisfied with the results.

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drj3

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john9001
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Re: Clever Business
In reply to drj3, 11 months ago

However, I cannot image why a gay couple would want photographers who were biased since I don't know how they could ever be satisfied with the results.

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drj3

because they want to stick it in your face.

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santamonica812
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Re: Clever Business
In reply to john9001, 11 months ago

john9001 wrote:

However, I cannot image why a gay couple would want photographers who were biased since I don't know how they could ever be satisfied with the results.

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drj3

because they want to stick it in your face.

That's a sort of harsh way of putting it.  You also could phrase it as:  "Because some people want to insist that anti-discrimination laws are followed, even if acting to enforce the law may cause those same people some amount of harm."  (e.g., getting a wedding photographed by someone who clearly does not want to be there)

I think there are many legal issues that are cut-and-dried; where there are clear good guys and bad guys.  This is not one of them.  I have great sympathy for people (even bigots) who simply don't want to be around certain folks.  Racists might not want to be around people of color.  Homophobes might want to avoid gays.  And so on.  But we (America, as a society, and a country ruled by laws) have decided that you are free to be as prejudiced as you want in your hearts and in your private homes, but you can't discriminate in many ways if you open a business to the public.  Don't want to be around black people (Jews, the disabled, the elderly etc)?  Then don't open a restaurant or a market.  Don't like the current laws?  Then amend your (state or federal) constitution(s), or elect different political representatives.

The reason why I think the photographer should have won--as a matter of law--is that (as a photographer) I see photography as an art form.  And artists should be allowed to pick and choose their subjects . . . even if those artists are bigoted scummy a**holes.  But the courts in this case have rejected this view of photography, rejected this argument, and so it's not surprising to see this court ruling.

I don't think the state Supreme Court will overturn the lower court's ruling.  But I think there is a small chance (maybe 10%) that the US Sup. Ct will eventually grant cert, and then we can have a clear, uniform rule.  (As it currently stands, I can see courts ruling in the opposite way, depending on the particulars of each state's anti-discrimination statutes and/or constitution.)

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Leon Wittwer
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Re: Photographer faces law suit
In reply to geoffmalter, 11 months ago

Self employed folks still have to obey the law when they deal with the public.

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Leon Wittwer
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Re: Clever Business
In reply to santamonica812, 11 months ago

santamonica812 wrote:

The reason why I think the photographer should have won--as a matter of law--is that (as a photographer) I see photography as an art form. And artists should be allowed to pick and choose their subjects . . . even if those artists are bigoted scummy a**holes. But the courts in this case have rejected this view of photography, rejected this argument, and so it's not surprising to see this court ruling.

As an artist, you create a work and hope that some one buys it.  There is no assumption of a purchase at the time of creation.  If you have a business, there is the legal requirement in New Mexico to provide your service without regard to sexual orientation, race, etc.  The customer has agreed to purchase before the creation.  That does not mean that you can not be artistic in your business but the business part comes first.

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Mark B.
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Re: Photographer faces law suit
In reply to geoffmalter, 11 months ago

geoffmalter wrote:

KariIceland wrote:

G K wrote:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/06/elaine-huguenin-photograp_n_1572676.html

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Buck
Write your troubles in sand, carve your blessings in stone.

To be honest I agree that the lawyer should be sued, you are a PHOTOGRAPHER, a WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER, It is your JOB to photograph a wedding! You are in BUSINESS! You should NEVER mix PERSONAL stuff with BUSINESS! If you do you are TERRIBLE at business.

Are you serious??! One of the joys of being self employed is being able to choose who you want to do business with. And I laud her for her honesty as to why, even though I don't necessarily agree with her reason. Successful business people do not have to work with everyone who crosses their path. Unsuccessful ones usually do because they have to put food on the table.

So just for the sake of argument then - if I open a restaurant and decide to not allow persons that are of ethnic background X because I believe they are terrible tipper or they have a reputation for skipping out on the bill, that's ok?  After all, I'd be looking out for my employees as well as my own business interests.

Mark

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santamonica812
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Re: Clever Business
In reply to Leon Wittwer, 11 months ago

Leon Wittwer wrote:

santamonica812 wrote:

The reason why I think the photographer should have won--as a matter of law--is that (as a photographer) I see photography as an art form. And artists should be allowed to pick and choose their subjects . . . even if those artists are bigoted scummy a**holes. But the courts in this case have rejected this view of photography, rejected this argument, and so it's not surprising to see this court ruling.

As an artist, you create a work and hope that some one buys it. There is no assumption of a purchase at the time of creation. If you have a business, there is the legal requirement in New Mexico to provide your service without regard to sexual orientation, race, etc. The customer has agreed to purchase before the creation. That does not mean that you can not be artistic in your business but the business part comes first.

Well, sometimes.  In fact, many artists are commissioned to create works of art.  Local, federal, and state governments hire artists to create works for display in public places (ex: pretty much every statue you see in a public park).  Photographers at the top of the game (reputation-wise) are hired to travel to exotic countries and to create amazing photos, or  to create artistic advertisements (ex: annie liebovitz).

I never fully read the written court decision in this case.  But I gather that the court found that these wedding photographers were less like artists in their craft, and more like regular people providing a service.  Sort of like drawing a distinction between Van Gogh and a housepainter.  But can offer their services to the public.  But one offers a unique view of the world (as expressed through the medium of painting) while the other offers a more mundane view--one that could be replaced by any other housepainter.

I completely agree with the rest of your analysis.  As a lawyer, I have represented some truly awful people.  I would lump this person in with that group . . . I have little love for anyone with an irrational fear or hatred of any disadvantaged group.  But I've seen enough amazing wedding photography to see it as art, and not as a fungible skill (we've all seen poor photography, and boy is there a difference between that and good work!).  This tips the scale for me.  Note that I am unpersuaded by the "religious freedom" argument . . . if the court had accepted it, it would have opened the door to bigots of all stripes discriminating against gays, Jews, blacks, Muslims, etc etc etc, so long as the bigot claimed a religious base for his or her prejudice.  In other words, all our anti-discrimination laws would have been gutted.

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mikiev
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Being self-employed won't keep you from being sued
In reply to geoffmalter, 11 months ago

geoffmalter wrote:

Are you serious??! One of the joys of being self employed is being able to choose who you want to do business with. And I laud her for her honesty as to why, even though I don't necessarily agree with her reason.

Owner of a bakery near where I live, in Oregon, was just sued for refusing to sell a wedding cake for a lesbian wedding.

http://www.oregonlive.com/gresham/index.ssf/2013/08/lesbian_couple_refused_wedding.html

Rachel N. Cryer, 30, said she had gone to the Gresham bakery on Jan. 17 for a scheduled appointment to order a wedding cake. She met with the owner, Aaron Klein.

Klein asked for the date of the wedding and names of the bride and groom, Cryer said.

"I told him, 'There are two brides and our names are Rachel and Laurel,' " according to her complaint.

Klein responded that his business does not provide its services for same-sex weddings, she said.

"Respondent cited a religious belief for its refusal to make cakes for same-sex couples planning to marry," the complaint says.

The owner of the bakery may win in court, but he still has to defend himself against the suit.

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RichRMA
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Re: Photographer faces law suit
In reply to G K, 11 months ago

Forget the gay angle, it's just more erosion of freedom in the U.S. where a private citizen running a private business being forced to do something they don't want to.  Let the STATE provide a photographer.  In fact, if Obama and his people had their way, the wonderful STATE would replace all private enterprise.

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Josh Hunt
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Re: Clever Business
In reply to jkoch2, 11 months ago

jkoch2 wrote:

KariIceland wrote:

G K wrote:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/06/elaine-huguenin-photograp_n_1572676.html

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Buck
Write your troubles in sand, carve your blessings in stone.

To be honest I agree that the lawyer should be sued, you are a PHOTOGRAPHER, a WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER, It is your JOB to photograph a wedding! You are in BUSINESS! You should NEVER mix PERSONAL stuff with BUSINESS! If you do you are TERRIBLE at business.

A savvy person who does not want a piece of business, for whatever reason, will simply quote a high price, insist on 100% advance payment, claim that schedule does not permit, or concoct some counter-claim that the client had a bad credit rating or history of threats and litigious behavior.

On the other hand, the plaintiff may be guilty of discrimination against the mainy GLT photographers in the area turned down for the business without due reason or bid kiss-off.

Or simply say, "I am not available that day."

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BJL
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Equal access to public accomodations works for me
In reply to G K, 11 months ago

Replace "same sex" by "different race" or "jewish" or "muslim" and I can imagine some people would claim religious objections to those weddings too, but people that narrow-minded should stay away from businesses involving providing services to the public at large: that is what "public accomodations" laws are about.

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pavi1
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Re: Photographer faces law suit
In reply to RichRMA, 11 months ago

RichRMA wrote:

Forget the gay angle, it's just more erosion of freedom in the U.S. where a private citizen running a private business being forced to do something they don't want to. Let the STATE provide a photographer. In fact, if Obama and his people had their way, the wonderful STATE would replace all private enterprise.

If you do not believe in equality, perhaps you should find another country.

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puttin
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Re: Photographer faces law suit
In reply to RichRMA, 11 months ago

RichRMA wrote:

Forget the gay angle, it's just more erosion of freedom in the U.S. where a private citizen running a private business being forced to do something they don't want to. Let the STATE provide a photographer. In fact, if Obama and his people had their way, the wonderful STATE would replace all private enterprise.

Agree, the Govt wants to stick their noses in every ones business, let them be wedding photographers too. They should have plenty of spy cameras lying around

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steelski
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I am a Christian Wedding photographer.... here is my view.
In reply to G K, 11 months ago

Let me say this. 
Would you tell a Muslim that they have to do a Jewish wedding. 
Or a homosexual that they had to  photograph at a anti-homosexual event.????

How about a vegetarian that there is only meat on the menu....
Almost half of people in the USA are against gay marriage.

The notion of a Homosexual marriage is repulsive to the majority of Christians.... including myself. calling me old fashioned, out of touch, bigot, whatever you want. 
I believe this is a form of Fascism towards Christians. Getting us to bow to something we find offensive in the eyes of God is not a great direction for humanity.

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santamonica812
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Re: I am a Christian Wedding photographer.... here is my view.
In reply to steelski, 11 months ago

steelski wrote:

Let me say this.
Would you tell a Muslim that they have to do a Jewish wedding.

Of course. And a Jewish photographer would have to do a Muslim wedding. You can't discriminate on the basis of religion...it's a protected group (lawyer talk)

Or a homosexual that they had to photograph at a anti-homosexual event.????

Probably not. Without turning this thread into a First Year Constitutional Law class, anti-discrimination laws protect certain classes of people. Some apply to all states, through the US constitution (through the 13th and 14th amendments). And some states add extra groups of people--for instance, gays in California. What you are asking is, can a person discriminate (by refusing services) against homophobes. I think a person could, legally, refuse to provide services. But note that if a religious group wanted to hire me for an event and that group happened to be anti-gay (e.g., Southern Baptists), then I could not refuse service . . . at least, that's my take on the question--this is not the area of law in which I practice.

How about a vegetarian that there is only meat on the menu....

I don't understand this sentence. What are you asking us to decide? If you are asking, "Can we force a vegetarian to eat meat?", the answer is obviously "no." If you are asking, "Can an all-meat restaurant be forced to have vegetarian options, the answer is again "no." If you are asking something else, you'll have to rephrase it, so that it's easier to understand.

Almost half of people in the USA are against gay marriage.

So. In terms of following or not following the law, how does that matter at all? This is always a difficult concept to explain to non-lawyers. But many of the laws are specifically designed to protect the rights of minorities, BECAUSE the majorities are against them. 50 years ago, in many states, the *overwhelming majority* of people were against interracial marriage. Were against non-segregated schools. The courts said, essentially, "We don't give a rat's ass about what the majority thinks. We're interested in giving people all the constitutional and law-based protections they are entitled to."

The notion of a Homosexual marriage is repulsive to the majority of Christians.... including myself. calling me old fashioned, out of touch, bigot, whatever you want.

It is good that you can contemplate being identified as a bigot, fearful, superstitious, etc. It saves us the trouble of applying that label to you.

I believe this is a form of Fascism towards Christians.

I do not think you understand what the word "fascism" means. Although I do hear the term thrown about by conservatives quite often . . . and when president W. Bush was in office, I'd hear liberals throw around the terms as well. (Equally wildly, and equally inaccurately.)

Getting us to bow to something we find offensive in the eyes of God is not a great direction for humanity.

Again, you're making a great case for being allowed to discriminate against Blacks, Jews, women, etc. . . this is the argument that bigots have been making for decades..."Let me discriminate against anyone I want, as long as my God tells me doing so is okay."

I am unpersuaded by this argument, thank goodness the courts are unpersuaded by this, and I suspect that history (based on how we now look at people opposed to interracial marriages, etc) will not be kind to you or to your position.

Time will tell, of course . . .

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Clyde Thomas
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Christ commanded to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's.
In reply to G K, 11 months ago

Sorry my Christian friends, but the bible is pretty clear on this.

Matthew 22:20-21 the teachings of Christ telling his disciples to follow the law.

20: And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

21: They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

A Christian doesn't have to like the law. But they are commanded by their Savior to obey it.

A Christian in China must obey the Chinese law.

A Christian in Iran must obey the Iranian law.

A Christian in the U.S. must obey the U.S. law.

Christ NEVER told anyone to disobey the law of their governing land.

Christians should consider following in their Master's footsteps... You know, be Christians.  Christ who was known to associate with criminals and prostitutes. He never judged anyone. He took the opportunity to set example whenever he could.

The U.S. is a nation where citizens can work to change the laws. If an argument is sound beyond religious convictions, then the laws may be changed. Until then, everyone should obey the law or be ready to suffer the consequences. God would rather you obey the law than have you pass judgement upon one of his beloved children.

Remember in Luke 6:37

"Jesus said: Don’t judge others, and God won’t judge you. Don’t be hard on others, and God won’t be hard on you. Forgive others, and God will forgive you."

Now I don't like it either.  I feel that photographers should be able to pick and choose their jobs for whatever reason they so desire.  But I do not appreciate anyone giving my industry a bad name.  We togs have enough trouble with copyrights and camera prohibitions to worry about.  We don't need to be seen by the public as law breakers.

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