A gynecologist, Z, runs a fertility clinic. Z specializes in helping women with fertility issues, usually through a process called in vitro fertilization (IVF). Z also occasionally helps couples with male fertility issues through artificial insemination.
A gay couple, B and C, decide that they want have a child through a surrogate and artificial insemination, so they make an appointment at Z’s clinic. At the appointment, Z informs the couple that she is not willing to perform the procedure. The couple asks why, and Z responds that she is a devout Catholic Christian, so it is against her religious beliefs to help same-sex couples conceive.
Shocked at this, B and C file suit against Z in State A, alleging that the denial of conception services amounts to unlawful discrimination based on the couple’s sexual orientation. State A has a public accommodations law, which applies to all facilities, public and private, used by the public. That law states the following:
“All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, or sexuality.”
As a defense, Z argues that the public accommodation law’s application to her practice violates her First Amendment freedom of religion.
- How will the court rule on Z’s defense? Explain, focusing solely on Z’s constitutional claim, but do not apply the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) or any other state or federal statute other than the one presented in the problem.