New Mexico Takes a Stab at Nullifying the Constitution

The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendments does not apply to people who work for a living.

The First Amendment says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Given that a person exercises his religion by living his life in harmony with his beliefs, any attempt by government to force people to commit sins is a clear and direct repudiation of the targeted individual's First Amendment rights.

Nonetheless, the New Mexico Supreme Court has found that a photographer who declined to photograph a gay "wedding" was at fault.  One judge said:

[Some people] now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives. Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering. It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views.

... [I]t is the price of citizenship.

The flaws in this reasoning are so great that one cannot help but wonder if this is an explicit attempt to overthrow the Constitution.

The first glaring error is the Court's assumption that the New Mexico state legislature can make laws unconstrained by the constitutional rights of the citizens of New Mexico.

Liberals in general agree with that idea to the extent that it is useful for their agenda -- which is why, when asked, so many liberals in government can't explain how their legislation is within the powers given to them by the Constitution but can quickly explain why the Constitution requires that pornography be legal.

But given that Americans have repudiated neither the rule of law nor the Constitution, it is unclear how any rational judge can conclude that forcing people to do things they believe to be immoral is consistent with those individuals' First Amendment rights. 

The second glaring error is that this decision is content-based.  We all know that if a liberal photographer had refused to photograph a neo-Nazi skinhead wedding, the New Mexico Supreme Court would have ruled differently, assuming the case had even come to trial.  Even more importantly, note that given the New Mexico Supreme Court's ruling, if a gay photographer refused to photograph a Christian wedding, he'd be protected by law because Christians, unlike gays, do not enjoy special status under New Mexico law.  No reasonable person can believe that the Constitution supports fundamental rights only for specially protected groups, but not for citizens in general.

The third glaring error is the assumption that one group of citizens must surrender its rights so that another group can have special rights.  It's critical to note that the gay couple in question were easily able to find another wedding photographer, so they did not suffer in any real way.  Second, note that the issue in question was not the photographer's attacking the gays in any way, nor was the photographer trying to prevent the gays from being "married."  Rather, the couple apparently has the right to compel the photographer to violate her deeply held religious beliefs.

If the New Mexico Supreme court believes that a politically favored group can compel private members of politically disfavored groups to engage in specific actions, then the court believes that Americans have no rights other than those they can obtain via the legislative process -- i.e., the political majority is completely unconstrained in what it can do to the minority.  That reasoning is in direct opposition to the founding principles of America and to the Constitution.

This ruling is even more blatant in its attack on the First Amendment than the HHS mandate in that it seeks to compel citizens not just to directly fund actions that the citizen thinks are immoral, but also to actually perform actions they find immoral.  It's as though the HHS mandate required people to participate in an abortion rather than just fund it.

If a photographer can be compelled to take part in a gay wedding, why can't she be compelled not to eat fish on Friday or observe Ramadan?  If "discrimination" against politically favored groups trumps all else and can be used to compel individuals to perform any action the government deems necessary, what rights do members of any group not favored by the government have?

Further, if Americans' First Amendment right to exercise their religion must bow to gays' rights, what's to stop a court from ruling in favor of a law that criminalizing speech that disagrees with gay assumptions?  Once one part of the First Amendment can be ignored, there is nothing to stop the other parts from being officially ruled irrelevant when they conflict with the liberal agenda.

The proponents of so-called gay marriage continually sell their position by asking how changing the millennia-old definition of marriage will hurt the 98% of Americans who aren't gay.  This ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court is a clear example of precisely how redefining marriage can, and will, have a huge impact on all Americans.

The essential message of this case is that gays are demanding not just that marriage be redefined, but that all Americans bow to the new definition.  Gays are not fighting not for the right to marry, but rather for all Americans to be forced to declare that the gay lifestyle is a good thing.

If this ruling stands, then the courts will have effectively nullified the Constitution and made Christians second-class citizens.

You can read more of Tom's rants at his blog, Conversations about the obvious.  Feel free to follow him on Twitter.

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