NM high court will hear photographers' appeal

Monday, August 20, 2012
 | 
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)
Two New Mexico photographers who were fined $7,000 for refusing to photograph a lesbian "commitment ceremony" will have another court hearing.

Elaine and Jon Huguenin (NM photographers)Elaine and Jon Huguenin have been fighting the case for years. As owners of Elane Photography in Albuquerque, the Christian couple politely refused in 2006 to photograph the ceremony involving two lesbians. For their action, the Huguenins were found guilty by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission of "sexual orientation" discrimination and fined. (See earlier story) In June, the New Mexico Court of Appeals upheld the Commission's ruling under state anti-discrimination laws. Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jordan Lorence has the latest development. "The New Mexico Supreme Court has granted review in the case of Elane Photography [and] the Albuquerque Christian photographer who was sued for discrimination under New Mexico state law," he tells OneNewsNow. Jordan Lorence (ADF)Lower courts have rejected the freedom of speech and free exercise right of conscience defenses that have been raised, so ADF is pleased the state's high court has agreed to hear the case. Lorence suggests a business owner ought to be able to operate on the basis of their personal, sincere religious beliefs -- "and not have the government override those and force a business owner to choose between his beliefs and violating them or suffering punishment," he adds. "We are hopeful that the New Mexico Supreme Court will reverse the lower-court decisions and rule in favor of religious liberty and the right of conscience." Lorence says he admires the perseverance of the couple because "they are an example for everybody else."

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