Skip to comments.Christian Photographer Hauled before Commission for Refusing Same-Sex Job
Posted on 01/30/2008 4:22:09 PM PST by wagglebee
New Mexico, January 30, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The case of a Christian photographer who refused to photograph a same-sex "commitment ceremony", was heard before the New Mexico Human Rights Division on Monday.
A same-sex couple asked Elaine Huguenin, co-owner with her husband of Elane Photography, to photograph a "commitment ceremony" that the two women wanted to hold. Huguenin declined because her Christian beliefs are in conflict with the message communicated by the ceremony.
The same-sex couple filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Division, which is now trying Elane Photography under state antidiscrimination laws for sexual orientation discrimination.
The Alliance Defense fund (ADF), a legal alliance that is dedicated to defending and protecting religious freedom, sanctity of life, marriage, and family, is currently defending Elane Photography.
"On Monday we defended Elane Photography in court, saying basically that no person should be required to help others advance a message that they disagree with," ADF Senior Counsel and Senior Vice-President of the Office of Strategic Initiatives, Jordan Lorence, told LifeSiteNews in an interview today. "That's a basic First Amendment principle. The government is punishing Elaine photography for refusing to take photos which obviously advance the messages sent by the same-sex ceremony - that marriage can be defined as two women or two men."
In their complaint the homosexual couple has sought for an injunction against Elane Photography that will forbid them from ever again refusing to photograph a same-sex ceremony. They have also requested attorney's fees.
"Depending on how far up the ladder this goes of appeal that could be a lot of money," said Lorence. "Hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Lorence said that the ADF is framing its case in a similar fashion to the 1995 Supreme Court "Hurley" Case. "In the Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade case the US Supreme Court said that the State of Massachusetts could not punish a privately run parade because it refused to allow a homosexual advocacy group in to carry banners and signs in the parade. They said that would be compelled speech, ordering the parade organizers to help promote a message they do not want to promote. To apply the discrimination law that way violates freedom of speech. We are making a similar kind of argument in this case."
Lorence said that this current case is demonstrative of a "tremendous threat" facing those with traditional views on marriage and family.
"I think that this is a tremendous threat to First Amendment rights. Those who are advocating for same-sex marriage and for rights based upon sexual orientation keep arguing, 'We are not going to apply these against churches. We are going to protect people's right of conscience. We are all about diversity and pluralism.'"
But, in practice, says Lorence, "Business owners with traditional views or church owners with traditional definitions of marriage are now vulnerable for lawsuits under these nondiscrimination laws. There are 20 states that have these laws where they ban sexual orientation discrimination. Most of the major cities in the United States also have these kinds of ordinances. So these are a big threat, as the federal government debates whether to make this a blanket nationwide law.
"We see that these [non-discrimination laws] are not rectifying some unjust discrimination, but being used to punish those who speak out in favor of traditional marriage and sexual restraint," he concluded.
Lorence said that the ADF is "cautiously optimistic that the commission will do the right thing." If the New Mexico Commission, however, decides against Elane Photography, Lorence said that the ADF would appeal the decision all the way up to the US Supreme Court if necessary.
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Catholic Activist "Banned for life" From Publicly Criticizing Homosexuality
Christian Political Party before Human Rights Commission for Speaking Against Homosexuality
Alberta Human Rights Tribunal Rules Against Christian Pastor Boissoin
Alberta Christian Pastor Hauled Before Human Rights Tribunal for Letter to Editor on Homosexuality
U.S. Christian Camp Loses Tax-Exempt Status over Same-Sex Civil-Union Ceremony
Methodist Camp Meeting Association Sues New Jersey for Civil Union Investigation
Lesbian Couple Files Complaint against Church for Refusing Civil Union Ceremony
Human Rights Complaint Filed Against Catholic Bishop for Defence of Traditional Marriage
Homosexuals Seek to Shut Down Canadian Pro-Family Websites
CHRISTIAN COUPLE FORCED TO SHUT DOWN B&B FOR REFUSING HOMOSEXUAL COUPLE
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He’s being charged with not accepting a job?! What happened to we reserve the right to refuse service to anybody?
These are the same people who claim to argue for freedom of choice. What hypocrits.
wtf is this?
Apparently that doesn’t apply if the offended party is a protected class.
So business owners no longer have a choice of what work they take? Could a general contractor be sued because he turned down a job to build a cathouse? Could a videophotographer be sued because she turned down a request to tape a porn flick?
Rights of Blacks trump all, followed by Homosexuals, then illegal immigrants, then Muslims. Christians have no rights.
He is guilty of what Orwell called “thoughtcrime.” That’s the state of things today.
Might have been easier and cheaper if the photography outfit had just said they had a prior commitment on that date.
"We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, at any time, for any reason."
While in Montana I had a similar experience with a woman who wanted our shop to print up a bunch of posters she wanted made of her art, which were inappropriate. She threatened me in this way and I simply pointed to the sign, prominantly displayed in the store and said that the sign applied to her as of that minute.
Never heard more about it. This was maybe 13-14 years ago.
Whatever happened to a private business, especially one that does not deal in the necessities being able to say “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”?
You beat me by 5 seconds!
What ever happened to the businessman’s prerogative of...”WE reserve the RIGHT to refuse service to anyone!”
Anyone heard of the First Amendment in New Mexico?
Maybe it’s not part of the US.
You might like to see this, Jim.
Gone with the Civil Rights Act back in the 1960s.
Catholic Charities in MA gone out of adoption business... no kidding...
Gay objective appears to be the destruction of Christianity including Catholics instead of legal protections.
“...turned down a job to build a cathouse...”
We reserve the right to refuse to service anyone.
I remember when landlords weren’t allowed to “discriminate” against live-in couples. I guess this is just an extension. It was only a matter of time.
It always seems to be a “lesbian couple” that instigates these types of situations.
I think they are probably on somebody’s payroll to go out in teams and look for or create legal situations where precedent can be established.
Yes, just as ‘commercial speech’ is not protected by the first amendment, ‘commercial property’ is not protected by private property laws.
Might be the local laws that favor homosexuals might find itself kicked out of court once that claim is advanced and upheld.
Although the Hurley case involved a gay advocacy group it was a free speech case. The court ruled that the parade constituted the speech of the parade organizers, not the participants, and the organizers were within their right to reject the speech of others if they felt it interfered with their message. In the Elane case, the defense would be arguing that the commitment ceremony is the speech of the couple involved and their client is being compelled to participate in that speech. I can see their point, but unfortunately I’m not sure the court will buy it. This is the place where liberal legislation and activist judges have brought us.
Nobody can make you take a good picture if you don't want to.
Canadian import ~ they had all these Mexicans they’ve imported so they thought they ought to import some ideas from Canada, and there it is ~ fascism!
Amazing. This woman has not contractual obligation, has no special relationship with the same-sex couple, and as far as I know, photography services are not a public accommodation.
And yet, the state is going to force her to perform a service for private individuals against her will.
It's sickening. The whole premise behind discrimination law is bogus. Private individuals should be allowed to associate with whomever they want on whatever conditions they feel like. It's not the role of the state to make us nice, tolerant people.
What ever happened to freedom in this country?
And this is another reason why the silent GOP is dying and some of us just don’t give a damn anymore.
Just exactly what authority does the “Human Rights Commission” have to drag someone before it?
Code word for sub dept of the new Democrat fascist party
That died in 1965.
“Therein lies the rub”
Fascism at its finest.
I'd like to think so, but the fascists behind this suit would probably think otherwise. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they made the photographer give a speech congratulating the couple...and demanded that it be heartfelt.
When I photographed weddings the first question I asked was the date. Then I wised up. I’d chat with them first. If I did not like them I already had a deposit on that date.
That went out with the movie “GIANT”.
Well, you can tell them to hold out both of their hands and “demand” in one and “piss” in the other and see which one fills up faster.
When this started to play out the photographer should have agreed to do it. Then forgot to load film in the camera.
Under the federal “gay rights” bill pending in Congress, this policy will be spread over the entire nation. Liberty truly began to die in America in the 1960s.
You could, but that would probably get you hauled in to answer to the Human Rights Division...again.
You still can do that, but in many cases you'd better not say a peep about why.
In my experience, folks tend to give way too much information when they're turning something down. There's a felt need to say something that manifestly justifies you saying, "No," or "Sorry, I can't."
So, the photographer says, "I can't do that, because...", the would-be customer is offended at the "because", and the rest will be a matter of public record. Stopping immediately prior to the "because" is most HIGHLY recommended in these perilous times.
See, you gotta make sure you put up a sign; “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” Maybe with an “especially queers” tag on it.
Hm. Being paid to take pictures for private use does not constitute speech on the part of the photographer. I’m not so sure about free speech being applicable here.
And as far as the right to refuse service goes, that’s not absolute. You can’t throw a black couple out of your store because you’re a racist. Where race and sexual orientation/practices are equated, you’ll get this.
So, does freedom to practice one’s religion come into play here?
I thought for sure this was going to be a Canadian thing. Sad to see it happening here.
You have the wrong order. Muslims trump all, followed by Homosexuals, followed by illegal immigrants, then Blacks.