The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal filed by 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.

The high court's decision leaves in place the New Mexico Supreme Court's ruling against the photographer handed down in August.

The state's highest court unanimously ruled against Elaine 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 about marriage.”

Equality 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.