A similar case came up here in Albuquerque a few years ago, to the tune of about $7,000 (depending on which news outlet you believe; I've also read $6,000). Maybe some of you have heard about it: Christian Photographer Who Refused Gay Wedding Lost Lawsuit
. It has been appealed to the NM Supreme Court
, though I have not heard of any outcome from that.
In this haircut case as well as the photographer case, I have to side with the business owner. For all the talk we hear from all sides about a free-market economy, you'd think that the people involved in these cases would trust the market to decide, and a photographer who refused to photograph gay weddings or a muslim barber shop that refused to handle women's haircuts would lose the percentage of people who are excluded from procuring their services, and also the percentage of people who care so much about the "human rights" aspect of these situations to actually avoid those businesses.
When it comes right down to it, you can compel people by law to deal with you (apparently in NM and now possibly in Canada, anyway), but this is not what changes minds. In fact, usually quite the opposite. Forced values aren't any kind of actual values at all. As far as relates to the Civil Rights movement in the American south (which is to say, very little), they protested rightly "separate but equal" facilities that were in fact not equal at all. Unless it can be proven that the lady in question would receive substantially poorer service from another barber, then isn't it in her best interest to go to the barber who can do the equally good or better job without the hassle? It is, just like the NM photography case, really about punishing other people for hurting somebody's feelings (and, in both cases, the refusers when out of their way to be polite about it, so we might wonder just how fragile the poor, hurt accusers are that they cannot handle the fact that not everything in the world caters to their whims; most of us learned that about the world by age 5, I bet). Are feelings
now a protected class of their own?