Religious liberty and gay marriage collide as New Mexico photographer loses case
Poll: 85% agree that photographer should have right to say no
"Consider, for instance," the brief argued, "a freelance writer who writes press releases for various groups, including religious groups, but refuses to write a press release for a religious organization or event with which he disagrees. Under the court of appeals' theory, such a refusal would violate the law, being a form of discrimination based on religion, much as Elaine Huguenin's refusal to photograph an event with which she disagreed was treated as a violation of the law."
The court also ruled that the New Mexico Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply because the government was not directly coercing the photographer, a narrow interpretation of the NMFRA.
"This might be the right reading of the statute," Carpenter wrote, "but if so it is a rather stingy statutory protection of religious liberty against governmental burdens since government can burden rights by acting on its own or by making its court system and enforcement apparatuses available for others to do in its stead."
Rejecting that argument, Justice Richard Bosson wrote for the court that the business owners "have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different."
"That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us a people," Bosson wrote in an opinion concurring with the court's ruling. "That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship."
The court said a business could declare in its advertising that it opposes same-sex marriage but it has to comply with the anti-discrimination law
Vanessa Wilcock and another woman found another photographer to shoot the ceremony but an anti-discrimination claim was filed with the state Human Rights Commission, which determined that Huguenin's studio violated the law.
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