NM Judge: Homosexual Rights Trump 1st Amendment

New Mexico Court of Appeals judges have ruled that the state can require Christians to violate their conscience in order to provide business services. Judge Tim L. Garcia imposed a penalty of almost $7,000 on a photographer who refused to take pictures for a lesbian couple at a “commitment” ceremony.

Let’s get this straight before we get into the heart of the matter. All persons and businesses have the right to freedom of association, freedom of religion and they have the right to use their property without the use of force by the government or an outside entity. This is contained in the First and Fifth Amendments.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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The claim that has been going on for years is that people cannot discriminate against who they associate with. The state has broken American citizens’ First Amendment rights as they have forced associations. The following is just one of many examples.

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Elane Photography is owned and operated by a husband and wife team, Elaine and Jonathan Huegeunin. The Huegeunin’s are Christians.

When they were contacted by Vanessa Willock to provide photography services for their same-sex “commitment”, they declined stating in an email, “Sony if our last response was a confusing one. Yes, you are correct in saying we do not photograph same-sex weddings, but again, thanks for checking out our site! Have a great day.”

The terms of Elane Photography’s contract specify,

I. This agreement constitutes an order for wedding photography services, as agreed to by both parties: The Studio [Elane Photography] and Contracting Party (Client). Unless otherwise specified, it is understood that rights to proofs, final or sample prints, thereof shall remain the property of [t]he Studio and may be used for advertising, display or any other purpose thought proper by [t]he Studio. The images supplied may not be used for another company in any capacity without the consent of The Studio.

According to the lawsuit both Ms. Willock and her “partner” contacted Elane Photography for pricing and willingness to take pictures. Misti Collinsworth, who is the other lesbian involved, did so after she knew that Willock had already been turned down. This is a case where they were seeking to set up Elane Photography to demonstrate they had discriminated against them in order to file a lawsuit.

Fox News reported,

The Court of Appeals determined that a photo studio is considered a public accommodation – much like a restaurant or a store. As such, the photo studio may not refuse services based on sexual orientation or gender identity – even if doing so would violate the religious principles of the owners.

The judges on the panel wrote, “The owners of Elane Photography must accept the reasonable regulations and restrictions imposed upon the conduct of their commercial enterprise despite their personal religious beliefs that may conflict with these governmental interests.”

What government interests??!! The government should be protecting the rights of the citizens and in this case the right to religious conscience, property rights, and to associate or provide services to whoever one wishes. What the judges are saying is that Ms. Willock’s rights trump the Huegunin’s rights and therefore they are going to make them pay.

The Alliance Defense Fund says there will be an appeal.

According to Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence,

“Americans in the marketplace should not be subjected to legal attacks for simply abiding by their beliefs, Should the government force a videographer who is an animal rights activist to create a video promoting hunting and taxidermy? Of course not, and neither should the government force this photographer to promote a message that violates her conscience. Because the Constitution prohibits the state from forcing unwilling artists to promote a message they disagree with, we will certainly appeal this decision to the New Mexico Supreme Court.”

Benjamin Bull, chief counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, said,

“Homosexuals got exactly what they wanted. In the marketplace of ideas, one side has now been censored. This [situation] is exactly what homosexual activists have in mind.”

This lawsuit was purposeful and directed to silence Christians in their beliefs. It seems both government and homosexuals are content with letting Christians practice their religion in a building, but never taking it outside. However, the truth is they are not content there. They want Christians silenced, even in the buildings they assemble in.

Ms. Willock asked for these services even though, according to the State Bar of New Mexico, “New Mexico doesn’t have civil unions or other legally recognized domestic partnerships. To date, only Massachusetts allows same-sex couples to marry.” Therefore, not only is it an issue of the Huegeunins’ rights, but it is a matter of law. If what Ms. Willock was involving herself in was illegal, then one would have to question the legality of those who participated in the event.

Ask yourself this: If you requested the services of someone and they didn’t want to perform those services and told you why, then why would you go pursuing them? While Ms. Willock claimed to be “troubled” by “hate” on what was to be a “happy day in her life,” what she should have known was that there are people who do agree with her sexual perversion. She’s an adult woman and should have known this long ago.

Furthermore there are property rights at stake here. The Huegeunin’s own the photography company, the cameras and their own bodies. The state is basically saying that when they became a business the state owns it all and can tell them what they have to do with it.

While this case began in 2006 when Willock first asked for photography services, it wasn’t until 2009 that the appeal was made after the trial judge ruled in favor of the lesbians. Because of the recent ruling, it looks as if the case will go before the U.S. Supreme Court.

These types of things are becoming more common though as homosexuals are bringing these discrimination lawsuits against several businesses. As I reported back in April, a T-shirt company was hit with a lawsuit from homosexuals because, as Christians, they did not believe in providing services to promote a homosexual agenda.

I had previously decided to promote Elane Photography, but after messaging a friend with ADF, I was informed that they are no longer in business due to the situation. Apparently those claiming how tolerant they are, are not quite so tolerant and so the request was made to keep the Huguenins in our prayers, which we will do.

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