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N.M. photographer appeals to U.S. Supreme Court in gay bias case

Friday, November 8, 2013
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The nation’s highest court is being asked to overturn a New Mexico ruling that an Albuquerque business owned by gay marriage opponents violated a state anti-discrimination law in refusing to photograph a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony.

Elaine Huguenin

Elaine Huguenin

An appeal was filed Friday with the U.S. Supreme Court by a law firm representing Elane Photography. The court is expected to decide in late fall or over the winter whether to hear the case.

In an unanimous decision, New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in August that the business’s refusal in 2006 to photograph the ceremony involving two women violated New Mexico’s Human Rights Act “in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races.”

Elaine Huguenin, who owns Elane Photography with her husband and is the business’s principal photographer, refused to photography the ceremony because it violated her religious beliefs.

The court rejected arguments that the anti-discrimination law violated the photographer’s right to free speech by compelling them to “express messages that conflict with their religious beliefs.”

Justice Richard Bosson wrote that the business owners “have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different.”

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