Published On: Thu, Dec 19th, 2013

85% Americans support Christian photographer who refused gay wedding assignment as case moves on

The high profile case in New Mexico of a Christian photographer who refused to cover a gay wedding ceremony will head to US Supreme Court. After the New Mexico Supreme Court ruling against the photographer Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a petition detailing their First Amendment stance.

Elane Photography, Jon and Elaine Huguenin, were told that they must abandon their freedom as “the price of citizenship” which prompted heightened publicity and outcry.

The petition notes the Huguenins “will serve anyone; they do not turn away any customers because of their protected class status. But they will decline a request, as the First Amendment guarantees them the right to do, if the context would require them to express messages that conflict with their religious beliefs.”

A July Rasmussen poll found that 85 percent of Americans believe a Christian photographer has the right to say no if asked to take pictures at a same-sex ceremony that conflicts with the photographer’s religious beliefs. The editorial boards of both The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Times have recently agreed.

In 2006, Huguenin declined Vanessa Willock’s request to photograph a commitment ceremony between Willock and another woman. Huguenin declined the request because her and her husband’s Christian beliefs conflict with the message communicated by the expressive event, which Willock asked Huguenin to help her “celebrate.” 

Willock easily found another photographer for her ceremony, and for less money, but nevertheless filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission against Elane Photography.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Arizona bill allows businesses to refuse service based on religious grounds - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] A polled followed the New Mexico photographer case mentioned above with 85% of Americans supporting their right to refuse service – more HERE […]

  2. Your Name... says:

    And if the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been put to a popular vote in the Deep South, I think we all know how THAT would have turned out.

    All the bakeries and florists and caterers and photographers that people are wailing and gnashing their teeth about? They aren’t in the business of enforcing moral codes or providing spiritual guidance, they exist to MAKE MONEY. And as such they are obligated to comply with civil rights laws, whether those civil rights law protect people based on race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

    Perhaps Christians who believe that existing civil rights laws are too burdensome should file suit to have those laws overturned. Who knows, maybe they’ll be successful! Maybe the Supreme Court will determine that civil rights laws interfere with religious freedom and freedom of association. Then we can go back to the days when landlords could refuse to rent to Muslims, and restaurants could turn away Blacks. Christian business owners would be allowed to ask prospective customers which religion or sexual orientation they are, and then pick and choose which customers to serve, and which to turn away.

    • Anonymous says:

      The photographer did not refuse to serve the customer JUST because they were gay. If the gay customer had asked her to photograph another event (birthday, graduation, etc.), the photographer would have gladly done so. It is the EVENT the photographer rejected, not the person.

      If a business actually refused to serve a customer JUST because they were gay, I think that would be a problem, but that is not what is happening here.

      I don’t think it’s discrimination because had a straight person had tried to hire the photographer to shoot a gay wedding, the photographer would have refused just the same. She’s rejecting the event, not the person who came through the door.

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