A district judge in New Mexico has affirmed a state Civil Rights Commission order that a small photography company pay $6,600 for refusing to violate the owners' Christian beliefs by photographing a lesbian "ceremony," even though same-sex marriage isn't legal in the state.
Word of the decision by District Judge Alan M. Malott comes from the Alliance Defense Fund, which promised an immediate appeal of the decision against the Christian photographer and her husband.
Interestingly, both sides seem to disagree with the ruling. From Queerty.com, " I wouldn't want to see a court rule against a gay photographer who, on moral grounds, refused to take the business of a religious fundamentalist and homophobic couple. Because religion is a protected class, just like sexual orientation."
From WorldNetDaily, ""Should the government force a videographer who is an animal rights activist to create a video promoting hunting and taxidermy? American small business owners do not surrender their constitutional rights at the marketplace gate, nor can the government make people choose between their faith and their livelihood."
During the recent battle over proposition 8 in California, it was claimed that proposition 8 would have no effect on photographers. Opponents of proposition 8 cited this case as proof that it might.
The case developed in 2006 when Willock asked Elaine Huguenin, co-owner with her husband, Jon Huguenin, of Elane Photography in Albuquerque, to photograph a "ceremony" that Willock and another woman wanted to hold in Taos. Neither marriage nor civil unions are legal between members of the same sex in New Mexico.
There are implications here which photographers should be aware of.
Do you agree/disagree? Let us know in the comments.
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