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.