Religious Right Not Saying ’Cheese’ Over SCOTUS Decision to Deny NM Photographer’s Appeal
A religious right temper tantrum heard ’round the globe occurred Monday following the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to reject an appeal from a New Mexico photographer who violated the state’s Human Rights Act by refusing to shoot a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony.
"The audacity of the New Mexico Supreme Court in saying that the crucifixion of conscience is the price of citizenship is breathtaking." Said Russel D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. "This ruling is more in the spirit of Nero Caesar than in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson. This is damaging not only to the conscience rights of Christians, but to all citizens. When we decide, as a country, that state power trumps the rights of conscience, we are treading on self-evident, inalienable rights, granted not by government but by God."
In a statement released by the SPLC, designated anti-gay hate group Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said: "The New Mexico Supreme Court’s decision to allow a state commission to fine her for acting out her conscience would stun the Framers of the U.S. Constitution and is a gross violation of the First Amendment. Our nation’s long tradition of respecting conscience is likely why 85 percent of Americans, according to a Rasmussen poll, support the right of photographers to decline participation in a same-sex wedding ceremony."
The Christian Post reports in 2006, while interviewing potential photographers for her upcoming commitment same-sex ceremony, Vanessa Willock contacted Elaine Huguenin of Elane Photography. Huguenin declined to photograph the event on the grounds that it ran contrary to her religious beliefs. In court testimony, Huguenin likened her decision to her policy not to photograph nude or violent images.
Willock filed a complaint against Elane Photography for violating New Mexico’s anti-discrimination ordinance. The New Mexico Supreme Court found Huguenin guilty and ordered the company to pay $7,000 in damages to Willock.
"This essentially means the end of legal options for John and Elaine Huguenin for now," Alan Sears, president, CEO and General Counsel for conservative Christian non-profit Alliance Defending Freedom, representing the Huguenins said said Monday.