Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Arizona and specifics of the argument from NPR

I'm going to say my two cents about this whole Arizona debacle...

I'm 100% supportive of gay rights.  I disagree that this bill should be put into place, because it could obviously be used for evil and before we know it, homosexuals will have to wear a gold star like Jews so they can be pointed out and banned from businesses around town like we're back in Germany in the 1930s. 

HOWEVER.

I listened to this story on NPR yesterday about a woman who is a photographer and was asked to work a gay wedding.  She refused, told them she couldn't work the wedding because she doesn't support gay marriage, and she politely referred them to another photographer that would be able to help them, just as good of a photographer, blah blah blah.  The couple said to her, "Oh no, you're going to work our wedding, and you don't we will sue you." 

                                    They did sue her, and they won.

Here's everything that is wrong with that:

The laws state that if you have items that you sell, you cannot refuse to sell those items (or services) to anyone that comes in no matter their race, creed, etc. If you sell dresses, you have to sell to whoever wants to buy that dress.  If you're a restaurant owner, anyone should be able to come in and sit and eat.  What the law does not address, is that it gets very grey with freelance artists.

My job for example, I am a freelance performer.  I have worked for multiple companies, I get asked to work gigs out of the blue, sometimes I'm booked, and sometimes I say no because the project SUCKS.  I don't want to perform for them, because I don't think it'll benefit me in any way.  I'm sure that if I was asked to perform in a play or do standup at a venue that was run by devil worshipers, I would gladly tell them that I'm not going to work there and that's why.  I'm freelance, and I get to choose what jobs I do, that's the benefit of being freelance.

So when this woman (let's just forget about whether she's right or wrong for believing what she was probably born and raised to believe) was approached to photograph a wedding and said no, she was sued and forced to do the job.  But if she's anything like the rest of us freelance artists, she probably became a photographer so she could do the jobs that she wanted to do.  I think she made the mistake of telling them why she wouldn't do the job, she could've just said NO and left it at that, she didn't have to make them feel bad about themselves, but I don't feel she should've been forced to do that wedding.  I've never been forced to work a show that I didn't want to, and just like this bill could be construed and spread around to be used for evil, I feel that the precedent of that law suit is very dangerous for other freelance workers getting sued for when they say no to a job for any reason.  You could just think someone is an asshole and not want to work for them, and you should be able to say that!  They shouldn't be able to force you to make art for them.

And also, I'm a bit disappointed in the couple because suing that woman is not going to teach her anything about homosexuals, except that she's probably going to hate them after that.  She is not going to gain an open mind about another person's lifestyle if she is treated with anger and forced to do something she doesn't want to do. She was not an angry person to them and referred them to another photographer which seems fairly respectful to me, regardless at how hurt the couple must have been by her declining to take the gig.  Are we not just stirring the hatred pot here?  There's no evidence that she was even negative or mean to them, she just was honest about her religious beliefs (and like I said, she probably should've just lied that she was booked already or declined politely without giving them gripe).

My last point is, why in the heck would they ever want her at their wedding telling the story of their love with photos, when she disapproves of them and doesn't even want to be there?  I would never want that kind of bad juju infecting my wedding day energy.  Wouldn't you think that your photos are going to be a bit less than stellar with a non-enthused grudge-bearing photographer?  Wouldn't you always think of that awful memory every time you saw your wedding photos, and wouldn't you be nervous all day that she might do a mediocre or crappy job on purpose?  Why not just talk to the photographer she sent you?!  Give her a crappy review on yelp and ruin her week, don't bring that energy back on yourselves by still making her attend what's supposed to be the best day of your life!

What's next, how many people are we going to sue that have a freelance business and work for themselves, but are also not supportive of gay rights?  Would I be sued if I refused to do a comedy gig because I found out it was for someone's birthday who had 3 wives?  Because I'm just as against multiple spouses as some people are against homosexuality.  Where does it end?  Aren't we NOT supposed to be spreading hate, and instead prove you're the better person in this day and age?  This woman says she's a Christian and doesn't want to photograph your wedding, so if you think she's wrong wouldn't you want to prove to her what you think Jesus would actually do?  Maybe send her a note about why you think she's wrong and respectfully go on your way to finding someone else.  You shouldn't put money in her pocket if you think she's so wrong!

To some people, to me, being a homosexual is just as engrained as the color of your skin.  I completely understand that the LGBT community needs to start putting their foot down.  But I honestly feel bad for that woman and I have a bit of fear for other freelancers' future gigs if this is the standard being set.  The same reason she can believe gay marriage is wrong, is the same reason that gays are able to get married.  It's a FREE COUNTRY.  The best thing we can do for each other and ourselves is to live and let live.  That goes for people on BOTH sides of the argument.