U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear NM anti-gay photographer caseAround the Nation, Breaking News, Online Only, Top Highlights Monday, April 7th, 2014
The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to decide if a New Mexico wedding photographer was within her rights when she refused to take photographs at a same-sex commitment ceremony.
Without giving any reasons , the court said it would not review a decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court that the denial of service violated the state’s public accommodations law, which bans discrimination by those offering their services to the public.
According to a report in the Washington Post the case at the court came from Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, whose company, Elane Photography, refused to be the photographer for the 2007 commitment ceremony of a lesbian couple, Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth.
The Huguenins said they would “gladly serve gays and lesbians” by taking portraits. But photographing same-sex marriages or commitment ceremonies would “require them to create expression conveying messages that conflict with their religious beliefs,” according to their petition to the court.
Previously the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that the state’s anti-discrimination law forbids for-profit businesses from turning down customers on the basis of sexual orientation. The court said the studio violated that law “in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races.”
The Huguenins’ lawyers and supporters did not claim that businesses such as restaurants and hotels can refuse to serve gays and lesbians. A measure that could have had that effect was vetoed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in February.
Because the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear her case, the previous ruling from the New Mexico Supreme Court stands.
Similar objections have been raised to gay weddings by bakeries in Colorado and Oregon, a florist in Washington state and an event location in New Jersey.
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