Skip to comments.New Mexico commission orders $6,000 fine for Christian beliefs
Posted on 04/11/2008 8:26:38 AM PDT by NYer
A Christian law firm will appeal a ruling by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission fining a photographer who refused to take photos of a homosexual commitment ceremony.
Elaine Huguenin and her husband Jon, who co-own Elane Photography in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are both Christians. So when a lesbian couple asked them to photograph their "commitment ceremony" in Taos, the Huguenins politely refused. In response, Vanessa Willock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission claiming the Huguenins discriminated against her because of her "sexual orientation." On Wednesday, the Commission found the Christian couple guilty of discrimination under state anti-discrimination laws and ordered them to pay more than $6,000 in costs.
Jordan Lorence with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) represented the Huguenins. He contends the lawsuit reflects an attitude among homosexual activists.
"This decision is a stunning disregard for religious liberty and First Amendment freedoms of people of faith, of Christians, and those who believe in traditional marriage defined as one man and one woman," says the attorney. "This shows the very disconcerting, authoritarian face of the homosexual activists, who are using these non-discrimination laws as weapons against Christians in the business world and Christians in their churches."
Lorence believes the Huguenins will win an appeal of the decision. But he warns this is how similar laws in 19 other states, and the proposed federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, can be misused to silence biblical beliefs.
"There is a great threat to our religious liberties and our ability to speak out in favor of traditional marriage when these non-discrimination laws are interpreted in such a harsh way to censor Christians and others," he asserts.
Lorence said Americans do not surrender their freedoms of speech or religion just because they choose to open a business. He added that the Commission's decision is tantamount to the State of New Mexico forcing a vegetarian videographer to create a commercial for a butcher shop.
Its really time for Americans to BACK their government.
This P.C. crap has GOT to be stopped while we still have a Country and a culture left to defend.
If I were the photographers, I would take this joke of a ruling all the way to the Supreme Court, if need be. This is NOT Canada!
Under what authority does this commission have to levy fines towards an individual or private business? It has no authority equal to a court or a state regulatory agency.
I keep wating for the silent majority to lash back and instead may get President Obama.
violation of conscience more than just “biblical belief” it makes it broader and allows all people to object on the issue of sexual behavior.
This is an absolute travesty of social injustice. As a merchant, I reserve the right to refuse service to ANYONE and I don’t need a reason.
The fact that the state has empowered a ‘commission’ to adjudicate issues and assess fines, even if only for ‘costs’ is patently ridiculous (but widely done, I know).
The appeal should be interesting.
“Lorence said Americans do not surrender their freedoms of speech or religion just because they choose to open a business.”
Suppose you say your religion prevents you from serving blacks...perhaps you are a hold-over of the old Mormon religion, with its belief that black skin is a punishment for sin.
If you refuse to serve blacks, you WILL be prosecuted and convicted. Same with drugs, etc - your religious beliefs CAN conflict with anti-discrimination laws and result in punishment.
“I reserve the right to refuse service to ANYONE and I dont need a reason.”
I don’t suggest you go to court with that approach. What you do in your home may be your business, as long as it doesn’t involve flush toilets or light bulbs. However, what you do in a public business is NOT just your business.
Anti-discrimination laws would have no teeth if your approach prevailed.
I would appeal or burn my business and move out of state. I’d never pay it.
I have never heard of them, but it’s probably some very stupid commission the King set up before he grew a beard. From the same guy who gave a special award to a molester too...
This is a blatant violation of First Amendment rights and a Federal lawsuit should be filed against the Commission.
I do a lot of photography work. I clearly state I DO NOT DO WEDDINGS. Of any kind. Boy, things are getting weird in this country. How long is He going to tarry?
Jon and Elaine are fairly young (in their 20's) and were just married in the last few years. They are a little overwhelmed with the whole situation (which was a set up to establish a precedence).
Yep. This is one of the onerous legacies of the federal government’s 1960s Civil Rights “you-will-serve-black customers-or-serve-federal-time” laws.
Do you have First Amendment rights to discriminate in a public business?
Homosexuality is a behavior, not a race.
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