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Horowitz: A private business can discriminate based on a vaccine? Tell that to Christian photographers

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“Oh, of course private businesses can collude with the government to ensure that you have no access to employment, goods, and services and are marginalized from society if you don’t share their values — don’t you know that?” Well, that line of thought being used against those who don’t want a shot comes as news to anyone following the courts and anti-discrimination cases for the past decade.

Those who think that private businesses can engage in the most odious form of discrimination and force dangerous products into people’s bodies as a prerequisite to even participate in society, let me introduce you to Judge Frank Geraci Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. He ruled that New York can force Emilee Carpenter of Emilee Carpenter Photography to film a gay wedding against her most sincerely held religious beliefs.

“New York has a compelling interest in ensuring that individuals, without regard to sexual orientation, have equal access to publicly available goods and services, and that the Accommodation clause is narrowly tailored, as applied to Plaintiff, to serve that interest,” Geraci wrote in a Dec. 13 ruling.

Just how strong is this “compelling interest,” according to Judge Geraci? “As a result, even if the Accommodation clause compels speech or expressive association in a manner that implicates Plaintiff’s free-speech and free-association interests, the provision survives strict scrutiny,” concluded the judge in dismissing Carpenter’s lawsuit against the New York state government.

In other words, there is such an amazingly compelling state interest in ensuring that one out of 100 photographers doesn’t refuse service for a gay wedding that a state can downright compel you to engage in speech and activities that violate your conscience. Yet at the same time, we are told that a red state cannot tell private businesses “what not to do” by ordering them not to discriminate against workers or customers who decline to take the jab. Not only is this gross hypocrisy, but there are numerous differences that make the double standard of the court system all the more appalling.

  1. In the cases of the florists, photographers, and bakers who decline to service a gay wedding, they are not refusing to ever serve the individual, just that particular event. Contrast this to the vaccine mandates, and they are refusing to employ or serve the individual for anything.
  2. In the case of the photographer, the owner is abiding by her religious beliefs not to participate in something she finds anathema to her conscience. No such claim can be made with the vaccines, unless we are to concede that mass vaccination has become a religion. By definition, someone’s vaccination status cannot affect another human being, given that the others can obtain that amazing protection. Moreover, the shots never stopped transmission and, with the new variant, appear to cause more transmission.
  3. In the case of wedding services, the number of those declining is a minority of a minority. The culture condones homosexuality to a point where the customers could probably get discounts and better service almost anywhere within miles. Contrast this to the vaccine wars, and people without the shot are being marginalized from every aspect of society, employment, and higher education and now have the threat of inability to access life-sustaining goods, services, and treatment – including organ transplants.
  4. In the case of the gay weddings or employment of homosexuals, nobody is requiring the individuals to engage in a specific action they find offensive, as they are with requiring a dangerous shot in one’s body. The equivalent of the jab mandate for the bakers would be for a business to say you must engage in heterosexual sex in order for me to hire you or serve you. Or explained in the opposite direction, the court mandates to service gay weddings would be the equivalent of us demanding that businesses hire a certain quota of people without the jab and service events, fundraisers, and rallies fighting the jabs.
  5. In the case of the vaccine wars, the government has fostered a discriminatory culture throughout the country with billions of dollars of funding, marketing, coercing, and absolving manufactures of liability. Thus, it is not coming from a “private” concern, but clearly from the government, even when there is no direct requirement. The equivalent dynamic with gay weddings would be if the government spent billions of dollars marketing homosexuals as dangers to society, spreading HIV and syphilis, and then, when “private” businesses respond to the calling from government, asserting that “a private business can do what they want.”

But in the end, the two mandates actually are in harmony with each other in one respect: They both reek of fascism. They both require a person to actively participate in something that is anathema to his body or spirit against his will. Notice how religious conscience loses in both directions – both when the one asserting the right is an employer and when it is an employee or customer.

Now is the time for red states to pass systemic protections for people who don’t want to risk the senseless shots that are currently made moot by Omicron. The slate is not clean when it comes to private practice and discrimination law. If we are going to indulge absurd levels of anti-discrimination law – to the point of forcing Christian photographers to film two men kissing – you better believe we are going to enforce anti-discrimination law when the discriminatory behavior is senseless, is all-encompassing to the point of apartheid, and is being systematically fueled by the federal government.
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