NM Supreme Court: Christian photographers must shoot gay ‘commitment ceremony’

Court declares multicultural society takes precedence over one's beliefs

“Jim Crow is alive and well and living at the New Mexico Supreme Court, and Christian is the new black,” Bryan Fischer said on his AFR Talk program “Focal Point” this afternoon.

 

The Supreme Court of New Mexico has ruled that Christian photographers do not have the right to decline photographing a gay “wedding,” even if doing so violates their religious beliefs.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Richard C. Bosson said Christians must “compromise” their religious beliefs as “the price of citizenship.”

The high court ruled that Elaine Huguenin and her husband, Jon, violated a lesbian couple’s human rights by refusing to photograph their “commitment ceremony.”

When their business, Elane Photography, “refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the NMHRA [New Mexico Human Rights Act] in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races,” the majority opinion states.

The NMHRA, justices noted, protects discrimination “against protected classes of people.”

The case began in 2006, when Vanessa Willock approached the Albuquerque-based business to take pictures of her ceremony with girlfriend Misti Collinsworth and was politely declined. She found another photographer for the event but pursued legal action anyway.

After verifying that Elane Photography would take photos of a heterosexual wedding, the couple immediately hauled the Huguenins before the New Mexico Human Rights Commission.

In 2008, the commission ordered them to pay $6,637.94 in attorney’s fees. After a legal challenge, an appeals court upheld the fine.

The family got legal assistance from the Alliance Defending Freedom and appealed the case to the state Supreme Court.

The Huguenins argued they did not discriminate against homosexuals but “did not want to convey through [Huguenin]’s pictures the story of an event celebrating an understanding of marriage that conflicts with [the owners’] beliefs.”

They added that they “would have declined the request even if the ceremony was part of a movie and the actors playing the same-sex couple were heterosexual.”

 

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