by George Leef
Arizona’s governor, Jan Brewer, has vetoed a bill aimed at preventing repeats in the Grand Canyon state of the case in New Mexico where a photographer was fined for declining to do the photography at a gay wedding. This has elicited a great deal of controversy. In this Freeman piece, Brian Lasorsa argues that the attacks made against the bill are not persuasive.
This should be easy. Under the common law of contracts, anyone has the right to decline an offer. The reason for declining is irrelevant. The disappointed offeror is entitled to seek to contract with someone else, but not to sue the offeree who declined. If there is any objection to the AZ bill, it’s that it was too narrow, protecting only those who have religious objections to entering into contracts. The grounds for declining should be irrelevant. There is no aggression in saying “no.” But there is aggression in having the government punish someone because you’re spiteful that he did not want to enter into a contract with you.