The Right to Discriminate

by Will Grigg

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez was a regular customer of hair stylist Antonio Darden. About two years ago, Darden decided that he would no longer accept the Governor’s business because of her opposition to the novel social arrangement called same-sex marriage.

Six years before Darden dropped Gov. Martinez as a customer, New Mexico resident Elaine Huguenin, who runs a photography business, declined a request to photograph what was described as a wedding ceremony between two women. Rather than finding another photographer willing to take their business, the women filed a complaint with a bureaucratic body calling itself the Human Rights Commission. That agency ruled that Huguenin had violated a state law against “sexual orientation discrimination” and imposed a $7,000 fine.

The New Mexico Supreme Court upheld the fine, and the case may be headed to the US Supreme Court.

As a business owner, Antonio Darden has an unconditional right to accept or reject customers for any reason he chooses. The same is true of Elaine Huguenin, or any other business owner, whether or not that right is respected by those presuming to rule us. Anti-discrimination ordinances permit the totalitarian micro-management of social relationships and nullify property rights – which is why they must be repealed.

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