The New Mexico Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled against a photographer who had refused to photograph a lesbian couple's commitment ceremony in 2006.

The high court ruled that Elane Photography had violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMHRA), which protects individuals from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. New Mexico is one of 21 states plus the District of Columbia with such a law.

“We conclude that a commercial photography business that offers its services to the public, thereby increasing its visibility to potential clients, is subject to the antidiscrimination provisions of the NMHRA and must serve same-sex couples on the same basis that it serves opposite-sex couples. Therefore, when Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the NMHRA in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races.”

Elaine Huguenin, the event photographer who owns Elane Photography, argued that it was her religious right to refuse service to gay couples.

“We believe that the First Amendment protects the right of people not to communicate messages that they disagree with,” Huguenin's lawyer Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defending Freedom told Reuters.

Lorence added that he is likely to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In separate bur related events, a New Mexico county clerk on Wednesday began offering marriage licenses to gay couples as several legal challenges makes their way through the courts.

(Related: New Mexico Republicans to sue clerk issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.)