Court rules photographers must violate religious faith
The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment does not protect the owners a photography company who refused to serve a Lesbian couple because of their Christian beliefs.
Jon and Elaine Hugunin of Albuquerque, the court said, “can no more turn away customers on the basis of sexual orientation – photographing a same-sex marriage ceremony – than they could refuse to photograph African-Americans or Muslims.”
“All of which, I assume, is little comfort to the Huguenins, who 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.”
The stunning verdict came in a case brought by lesbians against Elane Photography. The lesbians wanted the photographer to document their “wedding,” and the photography company declined, claiming it would violate the Christian faith of the owners.
New Mexico’s anti-discrimination law, which provides special protections for homosexuals, “does not even require Elane Photography to take photographs. The NMHRA only mandates that if Elane Photography operates a business as a public accommodation, it cannot discriminate against potential clients based on their sexual orientation.”
“Government-coerced expression is a feature of dictatorships that has no place in a free country. This decision is a blow to our client and every American’s right to live free,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jordan Lorance, whose organization worked on the case.