Gay couple gets court to force photographer to cover their wedding

Have this story handy when somebody says: “How does same-sex marriage have any impact on you?”

The Albuquerque Journal reports:

A photo studio’s refusal to photograph a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony violates the New Mexico Human Rights Act, the Court of Appeals has ruled, rejecting the Albuquerque studio’s argument that doing so would cause it to disobey God and Biblical teachings.

Vanessa Willock asked photographer Elaine Huguenin to take pictures of a “commitment” ceremony between her and her lesbian partner. The photographer said to do such would violate her moral and religious beliefs.

Vanessa could have easily used a smartphone or found a phone book and got the names of about a dozen other photographers who had no problem with this at all. (If a doctor was repulsed by the fact that my wife and I accepted Catholic teaching on contraception, I would simply find another doctor. I wouldn’t take him to court.)

Elaine Huguenin has been ordered by the courts in New Mexico to photograph a lesbian 'commitment' ceremony.

But Vanessa wanted a photographer at her ceremony who thinks what she is doing is immoral. I know. That seems odd, doesn’t it. But the reason is simple: She want this photographer to be compared to restaurants and hotels in the 1950s who refused to serve black customers.

Now let’s review: Same-sex marriage is not legal in New Mexico. Even same-sex civil unions are not recognized in New Mexico.

So on what legal basis was Vanessa Willock able to sue Elaine Huguenin of Elane Photography when she refused to photograph the “commitment” ceremony of Willock and her partner? The New Mexico Human Rights Act, which covers “sexual orientation.” Pro-family groups, including CatholicVote, have long argued that these laws are not just a “shield” protecting the rights of gays against unfair discrimination, but will be used as a “sword” to deny the rights of Christians.

Guess we were proven right on that.

From the ABQ Journal:

Elane Photography argued that categorically refusing to photograph same-sex commitment ceremonies did not constitute discrimination, but rather reflected its owners sincerely held religious and moral beliefs that prohibit the practice. Could an African-American photographer, under that rationale, be required to photograph a Ku Klux Klan rally? Elane asked hypothetically.

“The Ku Klux Klan is not a protected class,” the court noted. “Sexual orientation, however, is protected.”

The rights of conscience and religious liberty are slipping away more and more every day.



  • ae em

    April 2014: court orders Elane LLC to pay $7000 fine.

  • ProSeCular

    All business people lose certain autonomies and rights when they enter the public marketplace.

    Regardless, be careful what you wish for.

    If this business wins its case, any business in New Mexico will be able to discriminate against customers wearing, e.g., crucifixes.

  • Bill

    I don’t really see the problem. 1. It’s a free country. If you don’t want to do something, no one can make you. 2. She believes God doesn’t want her to be a part of a gay marriage ceremony. No one can make her. The judge? Nope. You can jank a man out of his seat but you can’t make him stand. She just tells the gay couple “No,” and just tells the judge “No,” and see what happens. So, now the judge has “ordered” her to take pictures and she yields. She could show up with a little Kodac 110, take a few shots and toss them the cartridge and she would be off the hook. But I’ll bet she will have more class than that.



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