In his March 16 Sunday Opinions commentary, “Many layers in the gay-wedding cake,” Michael Peppard acknowledged that business owners do not have a right to violate public accommodation laws and discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender customers under the guise of religious freedom. But he suggested that special “conscience protections” may need to be provided for wedding photographers because they participate more closely in the ceremony.
If you offer your services to the public as a wedding photographer for hire, then participating in other people’s weddings is simply part of the job. Sometimes that means standing next to the altar, sometimes it means standing under the chuppah, sometimes it means standing next to a Universal Life minister, sometimes it means standing next to an interracial couple, and sometimes it means standing next to a couple of the same sex.
Photographers whose religious beliefs prevent them from working with all types of weddings should not be selling their services as wedding photographers. If you offer a commercial service, you have to be willing to provide that service to everyone.
Joshua Block, New York
The writer is a staff lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT Project.