• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Federal court rules: No Constitutional right to deny service to same-sex couples

Get PDF file

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

A husband and wife team of video photographers have lost a lawsuit in which they argued they could legally refuse to record the weddings of same-sex couples.

The case contested the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination in public accommodations and governs how businesses may treat potential customers.

Recent case: Angel and Carl sued the state of Minnesota, asking a federal court to declare that their video photography business could lawfully refuse to serve same-sex couples. They presented a series of arguments that essentially said their religious liberties would be infringed upon if the MHRA required them to serve same-sex couples.

The court dismissed their case, writing that what they were attempting to do was essentially the same as putting up a sign that read “whites only.” Such a sign is not protected under the Constitution and thus neither would be the couple’s preference to video only heterosexual weddings. (Telescope Media Group and Larsen v. Lindsey, DC MN, 2017)

Final note: A similar case is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. It alleges that a baker’s religious liberties are impinged upon if the bakers are forced to create wedding cakes for same-sex couples.

While neither case directly affects employers in their relationship with employees, a win in this case might have emboldened employers interested in arguing that their sincerely held religious beliefs prevent them from hiring applicants based on sexual orientation or identity.

Leave a Comment