Bill Handel is on KFI in Los Angeles and also on the weekends I hear him on Indiana stations. He does a radio program called Handel on the law. People call in to his show for “marginal legal advice” which usually means he makes fun of them. He also has a website where one can find an attorney for serious legal issues.
Frequently people will call in there after having been fired (in California) and thinking they were wrongly terminated they will ask his advice on what to do. He always says that in California one can be fired for any reason or no reason. If employer fires you for an illegal reason they will simply say that they fired you for a legal reason. They will lie. So the answer is always “you have no case”.
And I was thinking about this, and the controversy over the new law in Indiana, and I thought these are similar circumstances.
If someone says no thanks to a customer, they decline the job, be it a florist, or a cake maker or a photographer, no one really knows why, except them. And they would likely not say why, if it were discriminating, they would say it is for another reason. If only to prevent hurt feelings.
Deming said many important things are unknown and unknowable. I suggest to you the private thoughts of a person are unknown and unknowable unless they self incriminate.
The other point I want to make is that every wedding related job you can think of has the economy version and the deluxe version. So consider this, say I am taking on some part time photo work. Customer calls and it is a gay wedding and they want me to photograph the wedding.
The economy package is a single photo of the wedding party. I am fine with that. We make a deal.
But why stop there. The midlevel package involves the photographer following them around all night at the reception. A photo of them feeding each other the wedding cake. Now, if I say yes to the economy package, but no to this, am I discriminating? Or am I being reasonable, because I am old and I don’t like to stay out late, or be around loud music. Can I say no to some level of service, just because it is too much and I don’t want to do it?
But we could go even further. The happy couple makes a very good living and they are infact independently wealthy, and they say what they really want is for me to follow them around taking pictures for their first month together. They will pay me my regular salary, and I have enough vacation to cover a month. Now if I say no, am I discriminating? Can I say no to some level just because I don’t want to. I say “sorry, I don’t offer that level of service”. Is it my business? Or because they are a gay couple am I forced to do this. Or I could send them to Todd Green, he would probably be fine with it.
What if they want me to do some boudoir photography. Do I have to do it? Do I need a reason to say no?
Now I know you are thinking that would never happen. But I gave you several levels, the beginning level reasonable, and the ending level crazy. But who is to say what one will do, what job one will accept, except for the person who is going to do the work. Only the person being burdened with the work can say yes or no, and how much it will cost. Unless you are a physician, but that is another subject.
Do you really think gov can make that call, or should make that call? Should my customers be able to tell me what my limits are?
Now they can take me to court, even with this law. And the judge will decide what is reasonable. But with this law, if they lose, they pay my expenses. And with this law, against my religion can be a defense. But do you even need a defense to say what you will or won’t do? You are your own free person. You live in a free country. Who can tell you what you have to do in your own business?