The photographer found to have violated the New Mexico Human
Rights Act (NMHRA) when she refused to photograph a lesbian couple's
commitment ceremony in 2006 is preparing an appeal of her case to the
U.S. Supreme Court.
The New Mexico Supreme Court last month unanimously ruled against
Elane Photography, saying that owners Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin
violated the state's law which protects individuals from
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
In a legal brief filed in New Mexico, the couple insisted that
they are not hostile to gays, but are opposed to photographing their
ceremonies because of their religious views.
“Jonathan and Elaine are Christians, and as such, they believe
the Bible's teaching that marriage is the union of a man and a
woman,” the brief states. “They also believe that preserving
marriage as the union of a man and a woman is 'the best way to order
society.' Thus while the company wants to create photographs that
tell the stories of weddings between a 'bride and groom,' its
policies prohibit creating images that convey an understanding of
marriage that conflicts with Jonathan and Elaine's beliefs. Jonathan
and Elaine believe that if they were to convey a contrary message
about marriage, they would be disobeying God.”
“Elaine will create portrait photographs for and provide other
services to people who identify as homosexual so long as the message
communicated through her pictures does not conflict with her beliefs
On Trial, however, points out that the New Mexico Supreme Court
found evidence that the Huguenins are also opposed to photographing
gay couples in settings unrelated to marriage.
“Elane Photography argues that it would have taken portrait
photographs and performed other services for same-sex customers, so
long as they did not request photographs that involved or endorsed
same-sex weddings. However, Elane Photograph's owners testified that
they would also have refused to take photos of same-sex couples in
other contexts, including photos of a couple holding hands or showing
affection for each other. Elane Photography also argues in its brief
that it would have turned away heterosexual customers if the
customers asked for photographs in a context that endorsed same-sex
marriage,” the court wrote in its opinion.