New Mexico Courts Stomp Religious Freedom – Order Christian Couple to Pay Gay Fine
Religious Freedom – Go to Hell.
The New Mexico courts tells New Mexico couple to take their Christian faith and shove it.
By: Rachel Pulaski
As reported here in 2008, The New Mexico Human Rights Court sentenced Christian photographer Elaine Huguenin, owner of Elane Photography, a fine of $6,637.94 for refusing to photograph a gay commitment ceremony.
Recently, the New Mexico Court of Appeals upheld the ruling. The court ruled against Elaine’s claim to protection under New Mexico’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act as well as her claim to the “free exercise” clause protected by the First Amendment. National Review reported:
“I felt like Atticus Finch,” Jordan Lorence, the Huguenins’ attorney, told NRO. “There is so clearly an injustice here.” Lorence is a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, an organization of Christian lawyers specializing in religious-freedom cases.
The court dismissed the appeal that was based on the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act as inapplicable in a dispute between “private parties,” apparently failing to recognize that the law should certainly apply to a dispute with the Human Rights Commission, whose ruling and damages Elane Photography was appealing. The court based its decision, in large part, on the technical distinction that a photography studio qualifies as a “public accommodation,” defined in the New Mexico Human Rights Act as “any establishment that provides or offers its services . . . to the public,” such as a shop or a restaurant, “but does not include a[n] . . . establishment that is by its nature and use distinctly private.”
This ruling will not only affect Christians and photographers, it will have wider repercussions:
In its desire to prop up the same-sex-marriage agenda, though, the court has rejected that distinction and, in doing so, established a shocking precedent: Not only photographers but writers, videographers, graphic designers, and a host of others who market their services can now be legitimately forced by the government to work on behalf of causes with which they disagree.
The case is ripe for hypotheticals: An atheist web programmer asked to create a megachurch’s Internet site? A Muslim graphic designer asked to create an advertisement for a hot-dog stand? According to the court’s decision, the government has the right and the responsibility to force each to participate, despite his conscience objections.
Elaine and her husband plan to appeal their case to the NM Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court if necessary.
The “Allianced Defense Fund” who is defending the couple has more on the story.