Christian Photographers Fined $6,000 For Refusing to Shoot Lesbian Commitment Ceremony

New Mexico commission orders $6,000 fine for Christian beliefs (OneNewsNow.com)

Earlier this year I blogged on a legal scuffle between two Christian photographers who had a complaint filed against them in the state of New Mexico for refusing to be hired to photograph a New Mexico lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony.

Elaine and Jon Huguenin own a photography studio in Albuquerque New Mexico. Both are Christians. Apparently Vanesa Willock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission after the Huguenin’s refused to shoot their commitment ceremony.

Earlier this week the commission found the photographers guilty of discrimination under New Mexico state anti-discrimination laws and ordered them to pay $6,000.

While there is no Federal statue that I am aware of providing legal protection to same sex couples, the state of New Mexico does have such a statue on their books. Apparently a Christian law firm is going to appeal the decision.

What do you think? Should the decision stand? Should a Christian photographer be required to shoot something that violates their personal religious beliefs? Is the New Mexico ruling a good verdict and one that protects the rights of same sex couples and helps them to avoid discrimination? How would you feel if the couple had refused to photograph a couple because they were black or too old or handicapped? Would that change your opinion on the decision?

Update: More from Mario Burgos.

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75 comments on “Christian Photographers Fined $6,000 For Refusing to Shoot Lesbian Commitment Ceremony
  1. Greg Newman says:

    This is interesting and in the same right appalling. Not only because it’s Christian vs. Them or Them vs. Christians, but even more so that the New Mexico government is intervening.

    As a full time freelancer, I enjoy the fact that I can work for whomever I choose. I don’t think the government should have the right to dictate that. The same discrimination laws that protect individuals applying for employment should not carry over to a businesses choice of clientele.

  2. Thomas Hawk says:

    The same discrimination laws that protect individuals applying for employment should not carry over to a businesses choice of clientele.

    Greg, should McDonalds be allowed to only serve white people if they wanted to?

  3. Wizetux says:

    As with any commercial business, it has always been up to the discretion of the management on whether a person is allowed to use the services thus provided. For example, if you go to a bar, they have the right to not serve you any more drinks if they feel that you have had enough, or a private school has the right to deny the attendance of a child if they don’t meet certain requirements, like the parents income bracket. Why should this be any different for a photographer? As long as they are not getting any money from a government agency or public tax fund, I don’t feel that the government should be able to tell them whom they must offer their services too. It is there rights as an American. If they are forced to shot this wedding or pay a fine, will we start seeing more lawsuits on other establishment because they deny services to people as well, whether it be on the standard non-discriminatory status or not.

    Plus, I bet there are other photographers in the area that would be willing to shot the wedding and probably for comparable price.

  4. Shawn says:

    Hmm.. While I personally find it ridiculous to not shoot a lesbian couple, I guess I can’t pass judgment since I am not a religious person.

    However, I do believe that the photographers should not be sued because they turned down the job.

    Thomas, you mentioned McDonald’s earlier and whether they should be allowed to serve only white people. I’m not sure this is the same thing. McDonald’s operates a restaurant that, while private property, is considered a public space. However, hiring a photographer to come and shoot a commitment ceremony sounds to me like a totally different ballgame.

    I am not a religious person and I certainly dislike being on the side of someone so seemingly intolerant, however, I have to question the motives of the lesbian couple. If these photographers didn’t want to shoot the ceremony, move on and go hire a different photographer. This just _feels_ like someone who wants to make headlines or wants to be considered some sort of brave icon of gay rights. Eh… Some people are idiots, get over it, and hire another photographer.

  5. Thomas Hawk says:

    As long as they are not getting any money from a government agency or public tax fund, I don’t feel that the government should be able to tell them whom they must offer their services too.

    wizetux, While a bar may have a policy to not serve drunk patrons. I’m sure that this would apply equally to all drunk patrons, black, white, male, female, gay, straight, etc.

    Do you think that a bar should be able, on the other hand, to refuse admittance to black people entirely?

  6. Thomas Hawk says:

    Thomas, you mentioned McDonald’s earlier and whether they should be allowed to serve only white people. I’m not sure this is the same thing.

    However, I do believe that the photographers should not be sued because they turned down the job.

    Shawn. If a wedding photography studio told a black couple that they wouldn’t shoot their wedding because they were black would this be ok with you?

  7. Civisi says:

    A photography session is usually a contractual agreement. If no contract is negotiated, then there is no obligation to perform services. This lawsuit doesn’t make sense to me.

  8. Wizetux says:

    Do you think that a bar should be able, on the other hand, to refuse admittance to black people entirely? My opinion, no. I think that most business do not discriminate against their customers because the public opinion of the business would be ruined, and no one would go there. A business is only successful as long as it has happy customers.

    But let me place this question to you, Mr Hawk. If a couple came to you and asked that you do photos of them having sex, and they are of age. Should you have the right to deny them that photo shoot because you don’t want to do that type of work?

  9. Michael says:

    Yes, if the photographers discriminated against them because they are lesbian then they should be fined and probably more. Obviously a independent contractor can turn down a job for any LEGAL reason including no reason at all. The line that is being crossed here is that they tuned down the job for a reason that is illegal. (and said so) Nope can’t do that.

  10. Brad C. says:

    The government should absolutely NOT be stepping in here. Its job is to protect the rights of all citizens, gay, straight, businessowner or potential customer. In this case, a business is offering a service based on certain conditions. Among those conditions: both parties must agree on the time & location, the services to be performed, the rate, etc. If no agreement has been created, then no rights have been violated. A customer cannot and should not force a business to engage in a transaction, nor should it punish a business for refusing any business.

    As for the specious McDonald’s argument, yes, I absolutely believe they should be able to serve or refuse to serve any clientele they please, for any or no reason at all. I don’t care if a business opens up that caters only to blind bisexual quadrapalegic republicans between the ages of 31 and 32 who can prove they are at least one-sixteenth Cherokee. It’s their business and their right. Customers should still be free to patronize that business or take their money elsewhere without government intervention. The market will determine whether the business owner’s decision to limit clientele is a wise one.

  11. Thomas Hawk says:

    If a couple came to you and asked that you do photos of them having sex, and they are of age. Should you have the right to deny them that photo shoot because you don’t want to do that type of work?

    Yes, I should have the right to deny them this shoot. But that’s because the law doesn’t protect people having sex live in a photo shoot from discrimination.

    At least in New Mexico the law does protect same sex couples.

  12. Thomas Hawk says:

    As for the specious McDonald’s argument, yes, I absolutely believe they should be able to serve or refuse to serve any clientele they please, for any or no reason at all.

    I think that this used to be the case. But then in the South, back in the pre civil rights days, you had lots of businesses who would routinely discriminate against black people. They made them sit in the back of the bus, or stand in the bus if a white person needed a seat. They made them eat in segregated areas in restaurants or refused to serve them in restaurants entirely, etc.

    Civil rights legislation was enacted to protect these people from a society that would discriminate. Now it’s illegal to refuse to serve someone dinner at your restaurant because they are black.

    Personally I think legislation protecting people from racial discrimination is a good thing and I’m glad that a McDonalds in Alabama, for instance, would not be allowed to turn down a person for a meal simply because they were black.

    In the case of this photographer it’s more complicated because you’ve got their religious rights vs. a same sex couple’s rights not to be discriminated against in the state of New Mexico. But legally I think that they are in the wrong and that the commission made the right decision in this case.

    Photographers who are in the business of photography ought to follow the same laws as any other business. If the laws are that you cannot discriminate on the basis of age, sex, religion, race, handicap or sexual orientation, then this is the law. If the photographer does not like this law then they can move to a state that does not protect same sex couples or they can try to overturn the law in their state.

    But a case certainly can be made that the state law is unconstitutional in that it would violate the photographer’s freedom to practice their religion. This is a complicated case though and one which a court would have to hear in my opinion.

  13. Adam says:

    Photography is art and art is speech.

    The government should not compel a certain type of speech from anyone – period.

    The photographers displayed a certain amount of jackassery – but that’s their right.

    -adam

  14. Ben says:

    Yes, I should have the right to deny them this shoot. But that’s because the law doesn’t protect people having sex live in a photo shoot from discrimination.

    So are you arguing that people should be forced to do jobs that they have a moral objection to? Let’s assume that the law protecting the right to be photographed while having sex existed, should you be forced to do so? In Texas, it’s capital punishment is legal, should you be forced to go to the prison and photograph an execution?

  15. Wizetux says:

    I will agree that much of the issue here is not the fact that the photographer denied the act of doing the shoot, but as to the reason why they denied it. According to the original article that Thamos Hawk linked to, “Huguenin declined because her Christian beliefs are in conflict with the message communicated by the ceremony.” To me, it sounds like the couple inferred that this meant they were not doing it because they were of a same sex relationship. She might have meant that her beliefs don’t feel that the ceremony should be done on any day besides the Sabbath.

    My religious beliefs are in conflict with the sacrifice of animals in a satanic ceremony and the message it portrays, but should I be forced to do the shot anyway, because the clients right to practice their religion is protected by law? If so, then by forcing the photographer to do this, would the government not be denying the photographer the right to practice their religion, which is a right protected to all Americans by the Constitution.

    You can’t have it one way and not the other.

  16. William Beem says:

    “We reserve the right to refuse service” is a common sign I used to see in businesses. Forget the religious connotations, it’s just a matter that a business should have the right to refuse service. Doesn’t matter why. Maybe the customer is rude, smelly, or the owners decided to take a vacation.

    This is a story for all the wrong reasons.

  17. Thomas Hawk says:

    “We reserve the right to refuse service” is a common sign I used to see in businesses. Forget the religious connotations, it’s just a matter that a business should have the right to refuse service.

    William, despite wherever you see this sign, legally businesses are not allowed to discriminate legally protected groups or peoples.

    Yes, you can discriminate because someone is smelly. Yes, you can discriminate because someone is drunk. Yes, you can discriminate because someone isn’t wearing shoes or a shirt. Yes, you can discriminate simply because someone is being loud or rude.

    But legal protection has been deemed necessary for some groups of people. And despite your feeling that a business ought to be able to conduct business however they would like, the law says different. The law says that there are certain things that they cannot discriminate over.

    My religious beliefs are in conflict with the sacrifice of animals in a satanic ceremony and the message it portrays, but should I be forced to do the shot anyway, because the clients right to practice their religion is protected by law?

    Maybe. I’d have to think about that one.

    Photography is art and art is speech.

    But these were commercial photographers specializing in wedding ceremony work — not fine art photographers being told what kind of fine art photography to produce.

    Certainly a valid defense from the photographer could have been “I don’t shoot these kinds of events,” if in fact that was the case. But to shoot heterosexual weddings and not shoot lesbian commitment ceremonies would not be a free speech issue in my opinion.

    There is an issue as to whether or not the New Mexico law ought to be allowed to run primary to the photographers right to practice their religion as they so choose, but like I said before I think that a court would need to decide that one.

  18. Thomas Hawk says:

    So are you arguing that people should be forced to do jobs that they have a moral objection to? Let’s assume that the law protecting the right to be photographed while having sex existed, should you be forced to do so?

    Possibly. Unless you chose to violate the law as an act of civil disobedience. But then you very well might be stuck with the consequence that the law provided.

  19. A photography session is usually a contractual agreement. If no contract is negotiated, then there is no obligation to perform services.

    All other arguments are mute. Legally protected, immoral, etc don’t matter. No contract, no obligation.

    Does the fact that a heterosexual marriage is legally recognized and a union of anyone not a man and a woman not recognized matter?

    Anyway, I can tell you this…

    I reserve the right to refuse service, and will fight, with any means possible, to retain that right.

  20. Thomas Hawk says:

    I reserve the right to refuse service, and will fight, with any means possible, to retain that right.

    Trevor, should this right be absolute? What if you went down to your local camera store because you saw an ad that they had the best price on the new camera that you wanted to buy. And when you went into the store and tried to buy it, the store owner said I’m sorry I won’t sell you this camera because you are a Christian.

    Would you simply walk out the door agreeing that the man had the right to do business any way he wanted? Or would you protest this move and push for your legally protected right against discrimination as a Christian?

  21. Photography may seem more innocuous than doctors or pharmacists, but even with all of them working in Private businesses, refusing a service on Moral Objection grounds is correctly interpreted as discriminatory. Thomas, I agree with you fully – the Service Provider has every right to refuse service on those grounds, just as the law shows we are required to hold them accountable for those discriminatory actions.
    Contract or no, Trevor, you are still required to not discriminate. If you call me a ‘faggot’ and throw me out of your office, I have the right to sue, contract or no.

  22. phillprice says:

    Maybe next time they’ll just say they’re busy…

  23. Greg Newman says:

    Greg, should McDonalds be allowed to only serve white people if they wanted to?

    That’s a little different Thomas. McDonalds provides a product and the customer is gone within a few minutes. A photographer is providing a service that involves more of an intimate working relationship and a possible degradation of reputation. If you feel there is a conflict between you and the client, or a disagreement in terms, I think you should have the right to reserve the project.

    Now, I’m not condoning the christian vs. lesbian part. I could go a long rant about that load of crap. There’s too much of this jesical prejudice going on these days.

    My concerns about having free choice of clientele. As freelancers and business people, I don’t want anyone dictating whether or not I accept a job or not. That’s my right.

  24. Thomas Hawk says:

    Maybe next time they’ll just say they’re busy…

    An interesting point Phill. I’m sure that this kind of discrimination happens all the time. Personally I believe that many different groups are constantly subjected to regular discrimination that is masked from them.

  25. I’m sure I’ll loose some friends over this one…

    TH, it’s important to separate a hypothetical black person entering an establishment and being refused service, and a homosexual being refused service.

    The black man is black. No one made that choice for him.

    The fact that I’ve now taken the discussion from a legal one to a moral and religious one is proof positive that this discussion, albeit important, is not for the government to legislate.

    Since the government of New Mexico saw fit to legislate what they legally are not authorized to do, then that should be corrected.

    The law violates the photographer’s right, as a business owner, before the photographer violates the homosexuals alleged right.

    We are a free-market, capitalistic, republic. I’d expect a socialistic government to tell me what to do with my business.

    Oh, and TH, I’d fight for any one of my rights, if it were taken away. I may fight with disobedience, I may fight with my two fists, I may fight with my constitution-granting Smith and Wesson. Whatever way is necessary, I’ll fight to keep my rights, and yours. I’ve done so all my life.

  26. Thomas Hawk says:

    A photographer is providing a service that involves more of an intimate working relationship and a possible degradation of reputation. If you feel there is a conflict between you and the client, or a disagreement in terms, I think you should have the right to reserve the project.

    So where do you draw the line Greg? Without a line it becomes very fuzzy. Should a doctor be allowed to discriminate? A lawyer? How about a real estate agent? What about a cab driver? I’ve had cab drivers tell me before that they don’t pick up black males because they rob them.

    A ton of discrimination will go on under the radar. But above board, where should the line be drawn.

    What if a McDonald’s manager in Alabama said that he could get more business by allowing whites only. Should he be allowed to do that? How is this any less relevant than a photographer’s business reputation?

    Is the intimacy of being someone’s photographer more intimate than riding in a car with them as their cab driver or advising them as a lawyer or doctor?

  27. Thomas Hawk says:

    The black man is black. No one made that choice for him.

    But Trevor, some would say that a gay man is gay and that no one made that choice for him.

    And the law is the law.

    If a law grants protection to gay people shouldn’t the law be upheld?

    Since the government of New Mexico saw fit to legislate what they legally are not authorized to do, then that should be corrected.

    But shouldn’t this be a matter for the courts to decide? If the state of New Mexico did in fact legislate illegally then certainly a court would have the authority to overturn the law.

  28. Adam says:

    Photography is art and art is speech.

    But these were commercial photographers specializing in wedding ceremony work — not fine art photographers being told what kind of fine art photography to produce.

    So if you do art for a living, your speech rights don’t matter? No . . . sorry. Professional artists get speech rights too.

  29. Greg Newman says:

    So where do you draw the line Greg?

    That’s a good question Thomas; one that requires much more thought. One that I’ll probably end up expanding on in my own blog post.

    Is the intimacy of being someone’s photographer more intimate than riding in a car with them as their cab driver or advising them as a lawyer or doctor?

    Yes, it actually is more intimate than a cab driver, no to a lawyer and maybe to a doctor.

    A photographer will have to spend several hours or even days with the client, with the possibility of working with them after the event to review images, negotiate rights, etc. A cab driver is a one time ride, with a slight chance you’ll get the same driver again at a later date. And whether you ride in that cab won’t necessarily, in most cases, tarnish your reputation.

    I’ll expand on the reputation thought. If you are a photographer who shoots landscapes for a living and you accept to shoot a lesbian wedding (or commitment) you can quickly get the reputation that you’re a gay wedding photographer (not that there’s anything wrong with that). If that’s not the kind of work you want, you don’t necessarily need that kind of reputation. And in the case of this couple, they will be sued by every gay couple that wants them to shoot their ceremony.

    Now, I’m not sure where you stand, but I think the religions combined have gotten too biased to a lot more than gay weddings. Baptist churches protesting the funerals of fallen soldiers… we could spend a month debating what’s right and wrong on that end.

  30. This is so silly! First of all, I have nothing against homosexuals; a very close friend of my family is a homosexual and we get along great.

    But their photography was run as a private business. They have the right to not let various people use their services. The only time I think it is admissible for a service-provider to be punished for discrimination in customers is if it is publicly funded. If everyone is paying taxes for something, it should follow that everyone is allowed to use it. However, the only people who fund these prejudiced photographers is their _voluntary_ customers. Therefore, the homosexual couple have no “Right” to the services that are provided by a private business.

    There is no difference between this and not letting someone into your restaurant because they didn’t follow the dress code; the point is that a business-owner should be able to decide for whom he provides services. Think about if you were selling your home and didn’t want to sell it to a specific person (even though they made a nice offer), because you don’t “jive” with their beliefs or lifestyle. It makes perfect sense to try to sell your home to someone who is the right fit for your neighborhood; how would you feel if you were sued because you refused to sell your own property to someone? My point here is that we need to stop dividing the word “discrimination” into separate categories, like “sexism”, “racism”, &c.; It is my belief that you should be able to pick and choose your customers based on any criteria you choose; it is not up to a government to run your business and tell you who you must serve.

  31. But Trevor, some would say that a gay man is gay and that no one made that choice for him.

    And where should that be decided? By a state’s government? Absolutely not. That is a religious, sociological, and psychological debate. Not a legal one.

    Since the government of New Mexico saw fit to legislate what they legally are not authorized to do, then that should be corrected.

    But shouldn’t this be a matter for the courts to decide? If the state of New Mexico did in fact legislate illegally then certainly a court would have the authority to overturn the law.

    Most definitely!

    “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;” -US Constitution (Bill of Rights)

    The state of New Mexico made a law, and are attempting to enforce that law, that abridges the privilege of the business owner, to take any client they choose.

  32. Brings up some interesting seperation of church & state arguments imho – if this is against their religious beliefs, then the state is making a law that abridges their religious rights.

  33. edgeplot says:

    My question is why would the lesbian couple want to support a business which did not approve of their relationship? As a gay man and a non-religious person, when it comes time to hire a photographer for my own commitment ceremony, I’m certainly not going to hire some homophobic Christians to help out. Instead I’m going to hire someone interesting in being a part of the experience. I’d much rather hire a photographer interested in or at least with neutral feelings toward his/her topic matter than one who doesn’t want to be there.

  34. Jason McKim says:

    Set the expected fine equal to the harm to the lesbian couple. Then, those photographers who are benefited by refusing to shoot more than the lesbian couple is benefited by having the shoot will simply accept the fine. If the photographer cares less than the couple, he will shoot. The activity of refusing to shoot is deterred only when the harm to the photographer of shooting is less than the harm to the lesbian couple of not shooting. It creates a “market” where people weigh the value of acting as they wish against the value that the other party places on acting as they wish, and we increase the amount of happiness in the world. It’s the best solution when both parties are imposing reciprocal harms on each other.

    The only problem is figuring out what that fine amount is. $6,000 might seem a bit high, but if the law is only enforced a fraction of the time you have to multiply the harm by the inverse of the probability of being caught to get the proper average expected fine. If $6,000 is the fine and the law is only enforced 5% of the time, that would mean that the harm to the couple of not getting this photographer is $300, which sounds roughly correct.

  35. simonking says:

    OK, what about price discrimination? Should my private liberal arts Christian school be allowed to discriminate against low-income individuals by charging $40,000 per school year? Maybe…Maybe not…Price discrimination is a tricky issue.

    Do I have the right to refuse someone service because they only make $10.00 a day from begging on the street? Well, in this case I think I do because I’m sacrificing the little guy for bigger and better returns. If I spent all my time with the little guy, I would miss out on the big fish who has $100,000 and is willing to buy my service.

    Now, this is a bit different from pure discrimination based on race. I believe that should not be allowed. Race is something that you cannot change. It is a predetermined biological trait that people have no choice but to accept AND it does not solidify a specific moral disposition.

    Now in terms of this lesbian situation. These people have an absolute right to refuse service. Being gay or being straight is a moral decision. Differing moral opinions should be discriminated against. Think about it, Would John Mccain’s party allow a Democrat to work within it’s ranks? Hell no because they would consider this to be a risk to confidential information.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I am amazed at the level of ignorance that some of the posters here have with regard to U.S federal and state laws regarding discrimination against certain groups of protected people!! Like it or not, it is both a federal offense as well as state and local offense in many places to discriminate against someone because of their race, gender, religion, physical disability or sexual orientation. That is the law of the land and it applies to businesses as well as individuals. These laws are not new, they have in most cases been around for decades. I understand the frustration some people are voicing , but these laws are the price of entry for functioning as a citizen of or a business in the USA.

    Someone commented that the US is a “..free-market, capitalistic, republic. I’d expect a socialistic government to tell me what to do with my business.” Well rude awakening… The U.S. is not a free for all, and whether you want to believe it or not is in fact Socialistic in function in many areas.

  37. Mark says:

    Thomas, you said that you should have to right to refuse to photograph people having sex because there’s no law that protects them. The fact that there’s no law that protects them, however, means exactly that you DO have the right to refuse. So your statement is circular logic – you say you should have the right because you have the right. The real question is whether there should or should not be such a law, just as in this case the question is whether there should or should not be a law to force photographers to accept lesbian wedding assignments.

    As for my personal opinion: As long as the photographer doesn’t receive subsidies from the state they should have the right to refuse whatever assignment on whichever grounds they like (if they do receive subsidies it’s a different question – you can’t have lesbian couples paying taxes to be given to a photographer who refuses to shoot lesbian couples).

    And yes, I do think that MacDonalds should have the right to refuse to serve black people (again, provided they don’t receive subsidies). If they did, however, I’d refuse to let them serve me.

  38. Thomas Hawk says:

    “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;” -US Constitution (Bill of Rights)

    The state of New Mexico made a law, and are attempting to enforce that law, that abridges the privilege of the business owner, to take any client they choose.

    But Trevor, the courts have long ruled that setting up other anti discrimination laws are definitely constitutional.

    We all know that some rights in the Constitution aren’t absolute. You can’t shout “fire” in a crowded movie theater, felons can’t own guns, etc.

    At least when it comes to race, sex, handicap, religion and age, the Federal Courts have already ruled that Federal anti-discrimination laws are in fact Constitutional.

    When the highest court in the nation decides this I think that’s that.

    Now one could argue that this New Mexico law is unconstitutional in that it violates the photographer’s rights to practice their religion. But we certainly do not have a constitutional right to do business with whomever we want, irrespective of discrimination.

    Thomas, you said that you should have to right to refuse to photograph people having sex because there’s no law that protects them. The fact that there’s no law that protects them, however, means exactly that you DO have the right to refuse.

    But there is a law in New Mexico that you can’t discriminate against gay people.


    And yes, I do think that MacDonalds should have the right to refuse to serve black people (again, provided they don’t receive subsidies). If they did, however, I’d refuse to let them serve me.

    I’d refuse to do business with bigots too in the McDonalds case, but even if people think that anyone should do business with anyone they want, the law says differently.

    Would John Mccain’s party allow a Democrat to work within it’s ranks? Hell no because they would consider this to be a risk to confidential information.

    But there is no law protecting people against discrimination based on which political party they are a member of. While John McCain would well be within his rights to refuse employment to someone who is a Democrat, he would not be within his rights to refuse someone employment because they were black, or at least in the State of New Mexico, because they were gay.

    The law makes the difference.

    Brings up some interesting seperation of church & state arguments imho – if this is against their religious beliefs, then the state is making a law that abridges their religious rights.

    This is indeed the crux of the argument in my opinion.

    My question is why would the lesbian couple want to support a business which did not approve of their relationship?

    A very good point. My own guess is that they are concerned about the political importance of discrimination and want to make an issue out of it with this case. Sometimes political points are worth making.

  39. simonking says:

    “he would not be within his rights to refuse someone employment because they were black, or at least in the State of New Mexico, because they were gay.”

    That’s bogus. New Mexico law is unconstitutional. I don’t think that this law, that you can’t discriminate against people because they are gay, would hold up in a higher court system. Like I said before the choice to be gay or not to be gay is a moral decision. I believe that the laws on discrimination were created to protect people from things that can’t be change (i.e. Race, sex, age, etc…)

  40. mattbg says:

    Being black, old, or handicapped is something that you are, while marriage is a social construct whose definition has been changed, and some people disagree with the new definition.

    I would have a slight problem with someone refusing to photograph someone simply because they were a lesbian, though I don’t think it should be illegal to refuse to do so.

    But that’s not what’s happening here. The couple presumably disagrees with the new definition of marriage (a social construct and not something that you are, and not a human right).

    Presumably, a lesbian couple running a photography business would be free to decline to photograph a heterosexual wedding if they so chose. And, besides, the heterosexual couple wouldn’t be so tendentious as to sue over it.

    Would the couple, I wonder, refuse to photograph a lesbian woman marrying a man? Traditional marriage, after all, does not discriminate against homosexuals because homosexuals are perfectly free to marry someone of the opposite sex.

    And would the couple be allowed to refuse to photograph weddings, period?

    And how can you legislate someone’s thoughts? Changing their outward behaviour doesn’t change what’s in their heart or head.

  41. Sean says:

    Thomas,

    This is not a matter of discrimination, but a matter of religious freedom.

    I’m all for Gays having the same rights as Heterosexuals. Let ‘em marry. I don’t care. They’re human just like I am.

    However, I reserve the right to have my own conscience and feel that what they do in bed is not acceptable in the eyes of the God I worship. If this had happened to me, I would have refused to shoot the event as well. I would feel that my photographing the event would be tantamount to participation in it and a seal of approval.

    It’s just as if the draft were reinstated. If I were drafted, I would refuse service on the grounds that I conscientiously object to taking the life of another.

    I reserve the right to practice my religion, even if the mandates of my religion are contrary to the laws of a particular country. “We must obey God as ruler, rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

  42. Mike says:

    To say that “being gay is a moral decision” is balderdash. No one really knows for certain, yet, but the moderate evidence that exists points to biology. It’s at best a religious or philosophical argument somewhat contrary to fact.

    Anti-discrimination law is a Very Good Thing. It’s been over 40 years since we got rid of the “right” to refuse service to people on the basis of their “race,” skin color, sex, religion or national origin – and good riddance to it. New Mexico is more civilized than many states and the feds in including sexual orientation as a prohibited reason for discrimination.

    Thomas, I find these photographers’ positions and beliefs loathsome and – and, really, shouldn’t the headline be “Homophobic Photographers Fined…” rather than “Christian Photographers”? After all, what caused the kerfuffle was their homophobia, not their general “Chrisitianity” and certainly not anything in what are held up to be the teachings of Jesus.

    Nevertheless, I see this largely as a free speech issue, and end up probably on the side of the homophobic photographers. Shooting a wedding may not be the most artistic form of photography, but even at its worst it is a creative process that does far more than just “document” an event. A wedding photographer creates art. It may not be high Art, but it is creative, expressive work – art with a small “a”. So photography is not necessarily the same as running a restaurant or hotel, or selling hardware or providing medical care.

    If the homophobic photographers’ objection was to creating expressive works with content they disagreed with, I think the First Amendment protects them from having to do the shoot. Same thing if they were Nazi photographers – they shouldn’t be compelled to shoot a bar mitzvah. Straight up ACLU stuff here, and as a card-carrying member of the ACLU I can’t avoid this conclusion.

    But these homophobic photographers should be permitted to refuse only the wedding shoot. If the refused to shoot a portrait of a lesbian, for example, or any other photographs that were not squarely about lesbianism, homosexuality, equal rights or other related politics there’s no excuse and no defense. If they refused to create works that did not contain objectionable content, then there would not be a speech issue, and they’d clearly be discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. The photographers can’t refuse service to lesbians because they are lesbians – or, at least, they shouldn’t be allowed to, any more than they should be allowed to refuse to shoot portraits of black folk.

  43. Mike Pearce says:

    What I don’t understand is why the photographers didn’t just say:

    “Sorry, we’re busy that weekend, but here’s the number of someone who may be able to help you.”

    I don’t know the full facts, but why did the photographers need to mention the fact that they WOULDN’T do it because they didn’t agree with homosexuality, instead of just saying they COULDN’T do it… would have saved them $6k.

  44. I agree with the “Sorry, we’re busy that weekend, but here’s the number of someone who may be able to help you.”, however, I feel as a freelancer I should have the right to refuse any assignment I disagree with.

    My wife and I have turned down assignments where one wedding couple wished to publicly consummate their new marriage and have it photographed. We have turned down several other assignments which would have involved partial/full nudity. If they were a homosexual couple, would they be able to sue us for that?

    Whether you agree with it or not, there are some assignments that someone will object to, and forcing them to do them will mean that the job won’t be done as well as others where the assignment is wanting to be completed. Wedding/Commitment ceremony photos are a luxury not a requirement. It’s not like a hospital which is refusing treatment, which can be life threatening, or they were the only photographers in town. I’m sure there were plenty of other options, and there was more than enough time to hire them. (Now if the couple said they would photograph them, and then backed out at the last minute – that is a different story – but I didn’t see that in the story at all.)

    The photographers have to be willing suffer any backlash that might come from people not wanting to work with a couple which discriminates based upon sexual preference. If they are, then I say let them, and the government should not get involved unless there is a life/death need.

  45. Will Brady says:

    When I read the news clip I feel I’m missing a couple of paragraphs. Are these the only wedding portrait photographers in the area? Doesn’t seem likely. Did they make a contractual agreement with the couple then bug out at the last minute leaving them without a photographer to shoot the event? Then it would seem it’s a breach of contract issue – as well as an act of discrimination.

    I agree the photographers seem more homophobic than “Christian” here. If they didn’t want to do the shoot, they could have helped find someone who would be willing to do the job.

    My partner and I were wed as a couple – we were the first male couple in our town to legally tie the knot. We didn’t have a photographer but in retrospect it would have been nice. Had we done this, I would have made sure that the photographers wanted to do it AND that they were good at what they did.

    Sounds like the camera crew are hiding behind the cross as a lame excuse for failing to meet a contracted obligation. That’s bad business practice; no matter what the excuse.

  46. Jon says:

    I know this is a complicated issue here. This has become religious/moral rights versus civil/anti-discrimination rights. I think the best solution would be to find a way to not infringe on either one’s rights. For instance it is legal to perform and abortion and lethal injections (in some states). However, there are doctors who refuse to perform these procedures because of religious/moral objections. Accommodations (law, policy, etc.) have been made that doctors who do not wish to perform these procedures do not have to but a person can still get an abortion or a state can still use lethal injection. I think most people would agree that a doctor should not be forced by law to perform a lethal injection if he/she morally objects to it. Perhaps some solution like this could be applied here instead having one person’s or group’s rights infringed. The photographer could refuse based on religious/moral objections but refers the couple to another photographer?

    Please note that I am not comparing a lesbian wedding to abortion or the death penalty. I am simply using something that people might be able to clearly see others having an objection to but a system that provides a reasonable solution.

  47. Rojoyinc says:

    As a photographer & a Christian… I would also turn down the job. Surely I would not pass judgement on their lifestyle. (that is for our Lord to decide). But I would not want to accept ANY JOB that I would not be COMFORTABLE photographing. There are many things that make me extremely uncomfortable… and if that’s the case. I could not do my job properly for the client. Whether I may not be skilled in that area, or have the equipment needed to do the job properly… or just personal uneasy feelings… it’s not right to a customer for me to accept their job if I don’t feel I can do my best, or give them what they are looking for.

    I would also turn down homosexual romantic coverage. I could not do romantic posing of a homesexual couple. Though it’s not place to judge what they do behind closed doors. I could not cover the task properly – and would also DECLINE… as I have turned down numberous jobs in the past of a variety of reasons.

    It’s SAD how this country is progressing. = (
    R. Kramer http://www.PortraNET.com

  48. As a Christian, I think this couple had a right to refuse. Same sex marriage goes against Christian beliefs. In a way, the photographers are being discriminated against for being Christians. What now? Are churches that have religious covenants that do not allow same sex relationships, drinking, drugs, etc. going to get sued for taking a stand against these things? If someone marries the same sex and tries to join a church, will that church be sued for not letting them in? Even though it is stated in their covenant?

    Our country has “One nation under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance, and “In God we Trust” on our money. But the Bible states that same sex relationships are a sin. Leviticus 18:22, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is an abomination.” So our country, founded on God, is now forcing us to sin and go against God if we are Christians? We should not be forced to turn against our religious beliefs.

    Being turned away from a photographer because you are gay is not the same as being turned down from McDonald’s because of skin color. You are not born gay as you are born black, chinese etc.

    If someone is gay that is their choice. But do not force it upon someone else that does not believe in it. Should we now sue Chick-Fil-A for not opening on sundays because they believe in God?

  49. Anonymous says:

    I am not a photographer, nor a legal expert, so my question my be naive…could it be argued that the couple got turned down, not because they are lesbians, but because of the content they wanted shot? Would that make any difference? For example, let’s say a black photographer turns down a job of taking head shots of a white girl purely because she is white…I feel that is wrong and discriminatory. Now lets say a black photographer turns down a photo shoot of a white supremist group…I would have no problem with that, even though the group has the legal right to exist. They would not be turned down because they were white, but because of the content.

    Does that make sense, or am I just rambling out loud?

  50. Ian Crane says:

    i dont currently have the time to read all the comments, i will as soon as i can. However from what i’ve scanned i havent seen anyone talk about why the lesbians would want to force someone to give them service, when they dont want to. If they were the only photographers in town, maybe i’d understand better, but i’m assuming there are other photographers available.

  51. Mark says:

    Blessings Photography: For completeness’ sake you should have also quoted Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.”. Do you also reserve the right to kill gay men as part of your religious freedom?

    May I also remind you of Leviticus 19:20-22: “If a man has carnal relations with a female slave who has already been living with another man but has not yet been redeemed or given her freedom, they shall be punished but not put to death, because she is not free. The man, moreover, shall bring to the entrance of the meeting tent a ram as his guilt offering to the LORD. With this ram the priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the sin he has committed, and it will be forgiven him.”

    Also rather important is Leviticus 19:27: “Do not clip your hair at the temples, nor trim the edges of your beard.”

    Or look at Leviticus 22, which tells you which animals you must and must not sacrifice to your god.

    The whole book of Leviticus is just ridiculous from a modern point of view, and you, Blessings Photography, are a sad joke.

  52. Mark…If you read that verse in Leviticus it clearly says “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying”

    It didn’t say Blessings should put them to death. I do not judge anyone and I wasn’t posting to flame. I posted my point of view. If that makes me a sad joke then I guess it does the other people that commented on their pov also. Maybe next time just post your views and move on.

  53. Also, nowhere did I say you must believe what I do. And I clearly stated that it is their choice to be gay. Nor did I say I hate gays or that I judge them. Maybe read things a little better next time.

    I think that photographer that declined has the right to do so. If she had declined someone because they wanted naked pictures taken should she have been sued then?

  54. Mark says:

    Blessings Photography: I have already stated that I do think that the photographer had the right to refuse, but not because of some rules written down in a bronze age book right next to some other rules on how a priest is supposed to treat his slaves.

    Moreover, I am adamant that if you take your moral rules from a book that gives rules for animal sacrifice, you are a sad joke and I reserve my right to ridicule you.

    And please stop spreading lies about the United States being “founded on God“.

  55. Hahahha…ok…so I guess “Under God” and “In God We Trust” was just put in our Pledge and on our money for the fun of it. Also, I guess we should let murderers and thieves go because that is part of the 10 Commandments and you think the Bible is wrong….how bout this

    you believe what you want and I will do the same….I will not post again in response to you

  56. Rojoy Inc says:

    I agree – though I would turn down the job… as it would make me uneasy… I have no ill feelings towards anyone gay. I may not agree with their lifestyle, but there are a lot of things in this world I do not claim to understand.
    If two lesbians wanted me to take a family picture of them, I’d likely have no problem with that, as long as I’m doing them as I do any family… (without the couple in romanic loving embace.) Family groups are composed as groups of people. I’d not have a problem with that… whether the two women (or men) are siblings or a couple… is their business. As long as I’d be able to pose the gay couple (male or female) as I would with same sex siblings, I’d have no problem at all with doing work for a gay family… or a family that has a gay couple. Though a ceremony like the one turned down here – would be different… as that “covered properly” would be a romantically posed couple… I would not be comfortable doing that, or putting my studio name on those poses… so I would turn it down. I don’t care how much the court fines me. It’s a matter of princible and I have the right to take and turn down jobs as I see fit for my reputation and that of my studio.

    I’m in a very conservative market and if such photos were shown around by the gay couple, I would surely loose work because prospective clients would think I agree’d with the joining of a gay couple. “ONE’S RIGHTS” in this country have gone WAY to far. At some point one’s RIGHTS infringe upon the RIGHTS of others.

  57. Mark says:

    Blessings Photography: “In God We Trust” first appeared on currency in 1864. “Under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance nation-wide in 1952. The United States of America were founded in 1776.

    Apart from history I suggest you also read up on logic.

  58. Rojoy Inc says:

    Another interesting thought…

    Over the years I’ve turned down several weddings for Seventh day adventists… this was because they have their day of worship on Saturday and their wedding ceremonies are usually on Sunday’s.

    I don’t work Sunday’s – because it’s our day or rest. So say I turn them down like this photographer did for her beliefs?

    Say the couple gets up set and runs to the sue… who wins?
    My rights for my beliefs or their right to their beliefs?

    Interesting thought = )

  59. bludwar says:

    Being from Canada, I can’t say with certainty how this would play out up here, but I do know that a pastor wouldn’t have to marry a couple that doesn’t have views compatible with the church. Why would an atheist or a same-sex couple be upset that they couldn’t get married in a church? Tolerance goes both ways, or at least it should. I’m a Christian, and happy to be one. I’m not the judge, something much bigger than me has that role. I agree with the photographers declining the job, no harm was done. This makes me think about piercings for some reason – if you only do ear lobes, should you be forced to do nose, lips, nipples, genitals simply because you are in the business?

    I think there are reasonable restrictions that any business owner should be able to employ based on their beliefs. Strangely, you can be almost any religion these days, except Christian. As a Christian these days, it is much easier to hide behind excuses (I’m busy that weekend) than to stand by your principles and decline the job.

  60. Thomas Hawk says:

    but I do know that a pastor wouldn’t have to marry a couple that doesn’t have views compatible with the church.

    At least here in the U.S. pastors are generally exempted from certain anti discrimination laws due to court rulings on the First Amendment. A pastor can, for instance, fire another pastor who announces that they are Gay legally.

    Here there is a clearer case as to the violation of religious duties specifically as it applies to spiritual functions.

    Although religious institutions can discriminate on the basis of religion, they cannot generally discriminate based on race, national origin, etc.

    Over the years I’ve turned down several weddings for Seventh day adventists… this was because they have their day of worship on Saturday and their wedding ceremonies are usually on Sunday’s.

    Rojoy, certainly refusing a wedding shoot because it was on a day that you never work would be acceptable vs. the law I’d assume. I’m not aware of any laws that this would violate. Of course if you shot some weddings on Sundays but declined all 7th Day Adventist Weddings someone might be able to construe a pattern and file for discrimination.

    i havent seen anyone talk about why the lesbians would want to force someone to give them service, when they dont want to.

    One reason would be because they believe in anti-discrimination laws and want to generate publicity so that people are more aware that it is illegal to discriminate against gay people in the State of New Mexico.

    Being turned away from a photographer because you are gay is not the same as being turned down from McDonald’s because of skin color. You are not born gay as you are born black, chinese etc.

    The defense that the law should only protect things that you are “born” with vs. choose is a weak one. First of all there is no compelling evidence that homosexuality is in fact a choice. But more significantly, anti-discrimination laws do cover other areas where people choose something.

    You are not born a Christian. Yet the law saws that people can’t discriminate against you based on religion. Christianity, and any religion really, is 100% a choice.

    So if someone is making an argument that “choice” decisions should not provide protection and that you feel that being gay is a “choice”, then on this logic you’d also need to remove discrimination protection for religious choices as well.

    As a photographer & a Christian… I would also turn down the job. Surely I would not pass judgement on their lifestyle. (that is for our Lord to decide). But I would not want to accept ANY JOB that I would not be COMFORTABLE photographing. There are many things that make me extremely uncomfortable…

    What if shooting black people made someone uncomfortable. Should they be allowed to refuse to shoot a black wedding as well?

    That’s bogus. New Mexico law is unconstitutional. I don’t think that this law, that you can’t discriminate against people because they are gay, would hold up in a higher court system.

    Who are you or I to say? Unless you are a constitutional lawyer with sound reasoning I think that this question is probably best left to the courts.

    Presumably, a lesbian couple running a photography business would be free to decline to photograph a heterosexual wedding if they so chose.

    Heteroxexuality is not a protected group that I’m aware of. I think historically discrimination laws have been passed where discrimination has occurred. I’d guess that there has been far more discrimination against gays, minorities, certain religious groups, etc. than there have against heterosexual couples.

    My wife and I have turned down assignments where one wedding couple wished to publicly consummate their new marriage and have it photographed. We have turned down several other assignments which would have involved partial/full nudity. If they were a homosexual couple, would they be able to sue us for that?

    No, saying that you don’t photograph nudity would be a defensible position. Had the lesbian couple asked the photographers to shoot them naked they certainly would have been well within their right to refuse based on a position that they don’t do nude photography. Nude photography is not protected. But a lesbian commitment ceremony that didn’t involve nudity is what we are likely talking about here.

  61. MediaMisfit says:

    At least the people were honest and basically said “it’s against” out beliefs. That’s like serving a Angus beef burger to a Hindu and then suing them because they refuse to eat it.

    Now if EVERY photography in the US was refusing service to gay couples then I would think there might be a need for intervention but this was just one fish in a SEA of photographers.

  62. Anonymous says:

    “The black man is black. No one made that choice for him.”

    First of all, I find it HIGHLY offensive that someone who is obviously not gay, assumes to know that being gay, is a choice one makes. How would you know? Were you gay and decided not to be anymore?

    Second of all, do you honestly believe that one would choose to be gay, when one is risking ridicule, being shunned from both family and community as well as perhaps losing one’s job, being harassed, threatened, physically and mentally abused, perhaps even murdered?

    Ugh. Really. As someone who IS gay but would much rather have been attracted to the opposite sex as it would’ve made life SO much easier, I simply cannot bite my tongue when I see statements like yours being made.

    - Liz

  63. Anonymous says:

    Typically, photographers enter into a written contract with the people who hire them. The photographer can choose not to enter into the contract for ANY reason, and the state cannot force them to enter into ANY contract. They could state in the contract that they will refuse to photograph anything THEY THINK is offensive including lesbianism, being a certain race, having green eyes…whatever.

    You do not enter into a contract with McDonalds when you buy a Hambaurger. There is the difference. If the photographer is working under a written contract, then they will win their appeal.

  64. Anonymous says:

    I feel this matter is not discrimination, because it goes against the foundations and believes of our nation. The photographer is being penalized for doing what is right.
    The fact of the matter is the homosexual activists are discriminating against the Christians; because they believe in what they believe. The Christian photographer should not comprise his/hers believes based on a clientele.

  65. Anonymous says:

    I feel this matter is not discrimination, because it goes against the foundations and believes of our nation. The photographer is being penalized for doing what is right.
    The fact of the matter is the homosexual activists are discriminating against the Christians; because they believe in what they believe. The Christian photographer should not comprise his/hers believes based on a clientele. In our Pledge of Alliance its says and I quote “one nation under God” if it says this why are contradicting it? This goes past petty little feelings this is someone’s moral beliefs and it shouldn’t be compromised at any cost.

  66. Anonymous says:

    The argument of “would it be ok to not do the shoot because they are black or …” is a lie on its face.
    They are not choosing based on a ethnicity or other circumstance beyond the subjects control. They are basing their decision on there moral/religious beliefs as opposed to the subjects CHOSEN lifestyle.
    The subjects have CHOSEN a lifestyle that is totally against their beliefs, can we as photographers then have the right to CHOOSE not to support that?
    So what you are saying is that discrimination based on color etc.. (Which all Christians should find deplorable) is equal to that which is based on thought/choice?
    I am a pro photographer, should i go look for a “married” gay couple that used a gay photog for their ceremony and sue them for discrimination?
    This is wrong, and scary – as the government has know decided to force by (by gunpoint if needed) to control what is acceptable thinking, and who can think what.
    Welcome to Amerika, the thought police are listening.

  67. andrew says:

    these photographers should have shot the wedding, and then subsequently loose the photos for the couple.

  68. Bob says:

    The law should be re-written so that you cannot refuse essential services like food, housing, etc..
    But a conflict of interest class should be common sense.

    Can a 18 year old rent a apartment in senior housing?
    Can a satanist teach over others In a Christian church?
    Can a republican manage democrats?
    Can millitant vegan be a spokesman for a steakhouse ?
    Can a man be a hostess at Hooters?

    This is common sense guys,
    The harm that would befall the photographers would be worse then
    The couple having to find a willing photographer.

    They could be ousted from their church, lose clients, lose friends, suffer emotional harm from being a part of the ceremony. It’s not a vital necessity to have a photographer, and I’m sure there are thousands of photogs in NM.
    It’s not the same as food or housing.

    I wouldn’t refuse, but I would calmly explain to them my views and how
    Uncomfortable it would make me, also the harm it would cause me, and I would see if I could
    Find them a willing photog from my network of friends. Surely this would suffice. If they persisted in
    Forcing me to shoot it that’s basically the same as pushing their beliefs in my face.
    I would use every opportunity to read scripture out loud to anyone who engaged me in conversation and also
    To the couple themselves. If they can deal with hearing hours of scripture then it’s worth me shooting it.

  69. Aaron says:

    This is beyond ridiculous. Religious views aside, why couldn’t the couple just find another photographer that was comfortable shooting their wedding? Why go on a crusade to legally compel a private business to act against its owners’ personal beliefs? No doubt the couple believed they were fighting intolerance, although what they were blind to was the fact that they were being intolerant of the photographers’ beliefs. The photographers were not asking the lesbian couple to do anything contrary to what the couple believed, but the couple was asking the photographers to violate what the photographers believed. How can any court in its right mind rule against the photographers? Utterly ridiculous. And madening.

    Aaron
    DM Photo

  70. Danny says:

    Should the United Negro College fund deny giving grants to a student because he/she is white? Should an employer be forced to hire someone of a specific gender, race, sexual preference over a qualified candidate that is white, to adhere to some stupid law that forces them to?

    We as Americans are “free” to hold our own opinions, and speak openly about them. We are granted that freedom in the First Amendment. Since homosexuality is a moral issue with Christian believers, and since it is taught as such in the bible, it falls under the freedom of religion portion of that amendment. And as Christian’s they are free to exercise their religious freedom as directed by their beliefs. The bible tells them to turn away from things that are “detestable” to God, and one of MANY things in that list is homosexuality. They are in their rights to refuse to support an act which by their moral compass is sinful.

    The government cannot simply apply a law that forces a moral viewpoint that is established in a person’s faith, no matter how “unpopular” that view point is. This is the fundamental flaw in most discrimination legislation. It’s one sided and does not provide equal protection for the “perceived” perpetrator of the crime.

  71. Fed(eral government) Up says:

    Two Questions,

    Why is it ok to be Christian phobic or religious phobic and not ok to be homophobic or any other phobic?

    Why is it ok and great according to mainstream media to have African Americans only buying from African Americans , but as soon as someone white only buys from white Americans (I’m sorry All the colors of the rainbow prism American) it is a travesty of justice? (Not a racist of any kind, like people of all race, just don’t like how people who use race for there own agendas.

    America stands for Freedom, but there comes a cost for that freedom. Are you willing to pay the cost? Or are you a lazy, give it too me because its mine, whining, never said no to, I want that so it is my Mother Nature given right to take it from you even if you are the nicest people on the planet, but don’t believe the same way I do type of person. The whiney, never said no to, babies, I like what you have so I am going to take it away from you, and if you don’t I am going to run to every authority I can and tattle tale on you ARE BEGINNING TO RUN OUR COUNTRY AND IT IS ABOUT TIME SOMEONE STOOD UP.

  72. Ken says:

    When you chose to profit from offering the public a service; you no longer get to choose who benefits from that service. Would it also be okay for this same photographer to decide that she did not want to shoot the ceremony of an interracial couple, a black couple, or what if she just felt that the two people were so ugly they should procreate? Who gets to decide when it is okay to discriminate? If you rely on the public to support your business you shold not get to decide who that public is. If you want to advertise only at your church or church events and limit your clientel to only those who share your point of view then you are also limiting your earning potential.Oh no! Can’t do that can ya!

  73. Anonymous says:

    Sounds to me like the gay couple targeted the Christian couple so they could take them to task. People are easily offended! When did it become the law to never be an offended American? What if the the Christian Couple asked a homosexual photographer to shoot their wedding in a church that openly preaches against homosexuality on Television and the Photohrapher turned them down? Should the Christians get paid thier $6000 fine?

  74. Dan says:

    The christian couple where operating a business that was open to the public, they had adds and website advertising their services. The laws in New Mexico state that a business open to the public cannot discriminate on the ground of race, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation, etc. The christian couple violated the law by refusing to provide their services based on the sexual orientation of someone seeking their services. If the reason for their refusal was because they where booked or because they where away on vacation at that time it they wouldn’t have broken the law as such reasons if genuine and not simply an excuse would apply to everyone gay or straight, black or white. A public business may put up a sign that says the have the right to refuse their service and may even apply it in case like no shirt, no shoes, no service as such reasons apply to everyone but cannot apply it in respect to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. If a gay person refuses to wear a shirt while patronizing a business they can be refused service on the grounds that they aren’t wearing a shirt and thats not hygienic and that would apply a straight person equally.

    The people that argue that a person operating a public business has the right to turn people away because of their race, religion, gender, etc, seem to have a short memory when it comes to history. It was tried to blacks in the pre-civil rights era and it was deemed unconstitutional and illegal. This same protection was expanded in respect to sexual orientation. If you don’t like it move to somewhere that hasn’t expanded protection, or make your pubic business a private business (i.e) not open to the public but by invitation only. Otherwise if you have a customer who’s race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation that you may not agree with, hold you nose, serve the customer, and the get on with your life. Being hired to photograph a same sex commitment ceremony does not mean you endorse it or agree with it. You are not participating in the wedding simply performing a service, just as any musician or caterer is performing a service.