Christians can be ordered to violate beliefs

SunShine 2012/06/05 05:51:03

A ruling from Judge Tim L. Garcia in the New Mexico Court of Appeals says states can require Christians to violate their faith in order to do business, affirming a penalty of nearly $7,000 for a photographer who refused to take pictures at a lesbian “commitment” ceremony in the state where same-sex “marriage” was illegal.

Judge’s Cynthia Fry and James Wechsler joined in the ruling by Garcia, which involved Elane Photography, whose owners, Elaine and Jonathan Huegeunin, are Christians and declined to do photography for lesbians Vanessa Willock and another woman.

The women complained under the state’s anti-discrimination requirements and a state commission, the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, imposed the penalty, which now has been affirmed by the appeals court judges. The judges explained in the 45-page ruling that the photography company is a “public accommodation” and those cannot discriminate under state law based on “sexual orientation.”

“The owners of Elane Photography must accept the reasonable regulations and restrictions imposed upon the conduct of their commercial enterprise despite their personal religious beliefs that may conflict with these governmental interests,” the judges wrote.

Officials with the Alliance Defense Fund, which has been representing Elane, said there would be an appeal.

“Americans in the marketplace should not be subjected to legal attacks for simply abiding by their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence. “Should the government force a videographer who is an animal rights activist to create a video promoting hunting and taxidermy? Of course not, and neither should the government force this photographer to promote a message that violates her conscience. Because the Constitution prohibits the state from forcing unwilling artists to promote a message they disagree with, we will certainly appeal this decision to the New Mexico Supreme Court.”

It started in 2006 when Willock asked Elaine Huguenin to take pictures at her “commitment” ceremony. It was in 2009 when the ADF appealed a trial judge’s ruling in favor of the lesbians.

In reaching their decision the judges aligned photography with those that are “an essential service” under state law.

“Services, facilities and accommodations are available to the general public through a variety of resources. Elane Photography takes advantage of these available resources to market to the public at large and invite them to solicit services offered by its photography business,” the judges explained.

They cited the idea of a KKK rally asking an black photographer to supply his work, and the photographer refusing. Could then the KKK cite racial discrimination?

“The Ku Klux Klan is not a protected class,” opined the judges. “Sexual orientation, however, is protected.”

The judges continued, “The act of photographing a same-sex ceremony does not express any opinions regarding same-sex commitments, or disseminate a personal message about such ceremonies.”

They called the state requirement “a neutral regulation of commercial conduct” and said that it does not “infringe upon freedom of speech or compel unwanted expression.”

The judges wrote that the photography company’s claim of protection under the state constitution’s requirement that “no person shall ever be molested or denied any civil or political right or privilege on account of his religious opinion” was not applicable.

The judges suggested the interesting scenario of the photographer accepting the job, and vocally condemning the women while taking pictures.

“The owners are free to express their religious beliefs and tell Willock or anyone else what they think about same-sex relationships and same-sex ceremonies,” they said.

The district court decision had come from Alan M. Malott.

Malott’s ruling said the Christian owners were compelled to photograph the ceremony for Vanessa Willock and Misty Pascottini because of the state’s interest in preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“Once one offers a service publicly, they must do so without impermissible exception,” the judge wrote. “Therefore, plaintiff could refuse to photograph animals or even small children, just as an architect could design only commercial buildings and not private residences. Neither animals, nor small children, nor private residences are protected classes,” he wrote.

When the district judge’s decision arrived, it seemed to substantiate the concerns of opponents of a federal “hate crimes” bill signed into law by President Obama during his first year in office that gives homosexuals special rights. Attorney General Eric Holder admitted in a congressional hearing that under the measure an attack on a homosexual would be dealt with differently than one on another citizen.

Benjamin Bull, chief counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, noted at that time, “Homosexuals got exactly what they wanted. In the marketplace of ideas, one side has now been censored. This [situation] is exactly what homosexual activists have in mind.”

Interestingly, a subsequent poll revealed that almost half of Americans believe that Christians in the United States are being persecuted by homosexual “marriage” advocates who take legal action against them over their religious beliefs, and almost one in three Democrats believes such persecution is “necessary,” according to the alarming results of a new poll

The results are from a WND/WENZEL Poll conducted for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.

It found that 49.2 percent of all respondents consider the legal activism against Christians and their beliefs regarding homosexuality to be “persecution.”

The question was, “There is a trend developing in which gay activists are filing lawsuits against people who refuse to do business with them on moral/religious grounds – such as when a New Mexico photographer was sued by a lesbian couple for refusing to photograph their wedding. Knowing this, which of the following statements most closely represents what you think about this?”

More than two of three Republicans called it “persecution of Christians,” along with 45 percent of independents. Even 33.1 percent of Democrats had he same answer.

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Top Opinion

  • Charu ∞ijm♥∞ 2012/06/05 06:44:39
    Charu ∞ijm♥∞
    Well I know this doesn't look very Christian of me but right now this is my answer to him because it is my GOD given right NOT man! (ps...I cleaned it up a LOT)
    kiss my butt

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  • jeane A Found... 2012/06/08 00:43:47
    You did not read Jesus statement that the requirments were fulfilled and we now have have the NEW COVENANT - nice try though.
  • A Found... jeane 2012/06/08 01:07:33
    A Founding Father
    Thought "Jesus" came to earth as a "man", the flesh of a mortal. How could he begin to rewrite the words of "God"? How many more men have done that down through the ages, which is why the stroy book is now such a confused mess of sillyiness and tales of woe and murder? Who can give back my rights to own some slaves and kill my neighbors? Jimmy Swagart or Joel Osteen? How can I reach them?
  • jeane A Found... 2012/06/08 01:11:17
    You haven't THOUGHT anything. You are merely showing your ignorance about Christianity.
  • jeane A Found... 2012/06/13 15:31:46
    John 1:14
    The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • jeane A Found... 2012/06/13 15:31:55
    << Colossians 2:9 >>

    New International Version (©1984)
    For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
    New Living Translation (©2007)
    For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.

    English Standard Version (©2001)
    For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

    New American Standard Bible (©1995)
    For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,
  • jeane A Found... 2012/06/13 15:32:42
    << John 14:7 >>

    New International Version (©1984)
    If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
    New Living Translation (©2007)
    If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!"

    English Standard Version (©2001)
    If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

    New American Standard Bible (©1995)
    "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him."

    King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
    If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
  • jeane A Found... 2012/06/13 15:36:50
    Jesus fulfilled the law and established a new and better covenant - as was predicted and FULFILLED. -that is why HE came remember?


    “The days are coming, declares the Lord,
    when I will make a new covenant,

  • ☠ Live Free Or Die ☠ 2012/06/05 23:08:21
    ☠ Live Free Or Die ☠
    The liberals said that this wouldn't happen. Now that it is happening, they are trying to justify it. LOL! Rich.
  • Patriot Unit 2012/06/05 20:45:19
    Patriot Unit
    All I can say is the judge(s) are out of line. They should be impeached or recalled for their activist activities on the bench. This ruling had nothing to do with law, and everything to do with the violation of somebody who happens to have Christian Beliefs and chose to follow their moral teachings. Were singled out by these disgusting judges. We no longer have an honest and trustworthy judiciary, when it comes to anything having to do with a special interest group like gay rights. What ever happened to the right of Free Choice. Oh, Oh, I remember, that only applies to those who subscribe to the Liberal Mindset. And follow the Politically Correct Madness that has taken over this country.
  • Sawdust_128 2012/06/05 19:50:41
    A ruling from Judges who think that their "Law" is above the Law of Nature. Dumb asses who think that two roosters can make a chicken.
  • JackSchitt 2012/06/05 19:38:47
    The Federal Civil Rights Act guarantees all people the right to "full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin."

    The business address for Elane Photography is a private residence, so Elane Photography is NOT a "place of public accommodation" like a restaurant or other walk-in business where they HAVE to serve everyone. She can pick and choose whether or not to do jobs for ANY reason.

    According to the court document, this Vanessa Willock only sent her an email asking if she would photograph her farce of a "wedding". Where Elaine made her mistake was being an honest Christian and telling the truth about why she didn't want the gig.

    I guess the lesbians eventually found someone to shoot their "wedding". They posted the pictures on line. Funny looking cake, though.

    guess lesbians eventually shoot wedding posted pictures line funny cake
  • Thor Am... JackSchitt 2012/06/05 23:42:33
    Thor American EXPAT n New Guinea
    I think the photographers may actually be able to go after these bitches for a hate crime. Specifically targeting them BECAUSE they were Christians and baiting them. 'Civil' trial in the works maybe?
  • Lanikai Thor Am... 2012/06/07 18:39:02
    I think they would have an excellent case.
  • MkB 2012/06/05 19:28:13
    Why are homosexuals given 'special' rights. Rhetorically asked.
  • Dan (Politicaly Incorrect) 2012/06/05 19:14:35
    Dan (Politicaly Incorrect)
    This Activist Judge can't force a private business to do something it does not want. Public accommodation indeed. That is asinine.
  • Sadisticon 2012/06/05 19:10:03
    That seems to be a tough call. The business has a belief system that allows it to discriminate. If the couple in question were mixed race and this concept violated the company's policy would we all be so "understanding"?
    Belief is a funny thing.
    We want an objective truth - much like our shared reality - but we can't impose our singular concepts on the collective and not expect some retaliation. And that goes both ways.
    I believe I should be allowed to swim nude wherever and whenever I want.
    There's kind of a law against that everywhere.
    My needs don't have any precedence.
    My son wants to marry his fiance and the photographer refuses to serve them because they're both dudes and it violates their beliefs. So we'll hire another wedding photographer.
    And, because we have the right to do so, we'll post the refusing photographer's information on a website that will pass around a petition to boycott, picket and rally support against them. We don't need to get any stinking lawyers involved.
  • Temlakos~POTL~PWCM~JLA~☆ 2012/06/05 19:09:22
    The solution in that particular case: each church will inaugurate its own in-house photography service, or some churches will do this and lend themselves out to others.
  • texasred 2012/06/05 18:09:32
    A continuation on the Christian religion. I seriously doubt this ruling would have come down if it had been a Muslim photography studio.
  • Lanikai texasred 2012/06/07 18:39:58 (edited)
    A muslime business is allowed to discriminate with this administration.
  • texasred Lanikai 2012/06/07 18:44:53
    I know. This administration picks and chooses the laws it will enforce and whom they be enforced upon.
  • Thor Am... Lanikai 2012/06/07 21:58:58
    Thor American EXPAT n New Guinea
    Case and point muslim taxi drivers not having to pick up passengers at the airport when they have alcahol from the duty free shop.
  • Kane Fernau 2012/06/05 17:18:24
    Kane Fernau
    Christianity has to be abolished so SATAN can rule the Earth.
  • Loop 2012/06/05 17:09:29
    I don't think this was right. If he had refused to photograph a straight couple because the guy was bald, for instance, yes that would be retarded, but it's his right. That's the thing people forget about: we are given freedom to think how we like, and even though I think homophobia is a terrible thing, he wasn't harming their rights, so for the law to punish him is wrong.
  • beachbum 2012/06/05 16:31:25
    Hmmm............wonder if the judge would have ruled the same if the photographers had been Muslim who refused to do the ceremony. Also have to wonder about photography being an 'essential service'.........??? Really? Essential?

    “Once one offers a service publicly, they must do so without impermissible exception,” the judge wrote. “Therefore, plaintiff could refuse to photograph animals or even small children, just as an architect could design only commercial buildings and not private residences. Neither animals, nor small children, nor private residences are protected classes,” he wrote. So, since small children are not protected classes, child pornography is ok??? Do not agree with this judge on many levels.
  • cheshirewayne 2012/06/05 16:06:07
    You can't say that this has not been coming for awhile now. If I am the business, then my religious beliefs are the businesses.
  • cowboy 2012/06/05 15:32:36 (edited)
    Over photos? Really? The lesbos couldn't just hire someone else? Waste of courts time. You can refuse service to anyone, or are we not still a FREE country?
  • Lanikai cowboy 2012/06/07 18:41:35
    I think they specifically SEARCHED for one who would refuse so they COULD get a lawsuit going, the courts are the gays answer to forcing their lifestyle on the rest of us. And under this admin, they are being handed special treatment and favors left and right.
  • D D 2012/06/05 15:31:41
    D D
    What the state is doing isn't right. This is one of the big reasons why I do not support gay marriage. If that happens, then they will do lawsuits against churches who won't marry them. Then the government gets involved and starts doing what is going on here in this post. No one should be forced to serve anyone. A business reserves the right to deny service at anytime. They should have not taken on the job in the first place. Ask a lot of questions to figure out if it is a gay marriage or not.
  • Lanikai D D 2012/06/07 18:46:41
    Well, the Chapel on Ft Polk just had a gay marriage, which is against the law in Louisiana. Since a military base is considered federal property, but the federal government calls marriage one man and one woman, this was a ploy to get gay marriage recognized in all 50 states,

    The voters keep voting it down and the gays keep attacking thru the courtd. Chapels and funeral services for veterans are now forbidden to mention Jesus, or God, but CAN commit illegal acts like gay marriage. Gays are out to destroy the law.
  • D D Lanikai 2012/06/07 20:21:06
    D D
    It's crazy. All part of the big plan.
  • William Weber 2012/06/05 15:00:26
    William Weber
    Same Sex marriage is not Illegal in New Mexico. New Mexico has no law stating anything about it either way. They do, however, recognize same sex marriages from other states. Read up on your facts before making a post.
  • Sheila William... 2012/06/05 16:10:12
    LOL, and THAT is what you choose to comment on? Wow.
  • William... Sheila 2012/06/05 17:04:05
    William Weber
    I don't comment my opinion on Biased polls, unless it is to correct an incorrect statement. Btw, are you 12? Because that's how my 12 year old cousin responds to people when they correct her.
  • Sheila William... 2012/06/05 18:20:44 (edited)
    self moderated.

    This is not MY poll hun.

    This poll is not biased. There are answer choices to support or not to support. But if you think this is all about discriminataion then you are either very young or very shortsighted.
  • Lanikai Sheila 2012/06/07 18:47:24
    Well, they refuse to comment on the private businesses being forced at the end of a government gun to accept what they don't support.
  • texasred William... 2012/06/05 18:10:45
    That's not what this is about, Willy.
  • William... texasred 2012/06/05 18:15:30
    William Weber
    I know that's not what the poll's about. If you quite honestly want my opinion, my opinion is that you have to look at it from the perspectives of both sides. Would you like it if some photographer refused to do your wedding pictures because your from Texas, or because you are white or because you are straight? Now, I don't necessarily agree with the law, but as long as the law is on the books, everyone has to follow it, no matter their religious, philosophical, or moral beliefs. I made my comment because I felt misinformation should be corrected.
  • texasred William... 2012/06/05 18:18:18
    I understand what you're saying, but.... when a business cannot refuse service based on their religious beliefs, then their First Amendment rights are being trampled. In addition, there is no doubt in my mind that this ruling would not have come down on a Muslim business owner.
  • Mantic William... 2012/06/06 02:01:42 (edited)
    I've been refused service by a number of businesses, for various reasons including just how I happened to look in my early 20s. No matter how much it bugged me, the courts would (rightfully) never have intervened on my behalf, forcing any business to provide their service to me. My convenience would not trump their autonomy.

    But these folks are special. They shoot rainbows out their posteriors.
  • bags the Indigenous Guru 2012/06/05 14:25:04
    bags the Indigenous Guru
    It's the law. Christians are all too fast to scream 'persecution' when our government doesn't give them the privileges that the rest of us don't enjoy. Don't want to take 'commitment/marriage' photos for a gay couple? Then make a living photographing things other than weddings and avoid the issue entirely.

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