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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.


http://www.wnd.com/2012/06/refuse-to-photograph-lesbians-get-...
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Top Opinion

  • Charu ∞ijm♥∞ 2012/06/05 06:44:39
    Charu ∞ijm♥∞
    +12
    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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  • Flowers 2012/06/05 14:18:09
    Flowers
    +8
    I'm going to side with the Christians on this one. The refusal to provide service should be done in a respectful manner by the company and the refused party should ALSO be respectful of the company and find another one to do business with. EVERYONE SHOULD BE RESPECTFUL AND THIS KIND OF CRAP WOULDN'T HAPPEN.

    A question: why is it that Islamic Cabbies up north (I believe it was in Wisconsin or something) were ruled in favor of refusing service... a VERY NECESSARY SERVICE ACTUALLY to anyone who violated their religious practices, IE women who aren't covered, animals, etc. I think that situation should be brought up in the appeals. If it's okay for one religion is HAS to be okay for all.
  • Dan ☮ R P ☮ 2012 ☮ 2012/06/05 14:15:33
    Dan ☮ R P ☮ 2012 ☮
    +7
    As far as I'm concerned, you have the right to refuse selling goods and services to anyone, period. The reason should not matter for an otherwise legal action.
  • SunShine Dan ☮ R... 2012/06/05 14:47:58
    SunShine
    +5
    I think you are correct.. anyone should have the right to refuse service.. for NO reason. Just as the customer has the right to choose who they want to do business with..there should be no obligation on anyone's part..
  • RG Dan ☮ R... 2012/06/05 18:50:30
    RG
    Definitly!
  • Joanie 2012/06/05 13:59:06 (edited)
    Joanie
    +6
    The decision is clearly correct. It is a no-brainer. If a person were a member of a church who believed that black people were spawn of the devil and should not be served food, and that person opened a restaurant and refused to serve black people, he or she would be liable under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981 for violating the rights of the black people that he or she refused to serve. Refusing to follow anti-discrimination laws is illegal, and hiding one's bigotry behind "faith" doesn't change the illegality of the conduct.

    There was a Supreme Court case in which the Court held that states could criminalize the use of peyote by Native Americans in their religious rituals. Clearly, the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment does not give people carte blanche to violate laws that their "faith" tells them are wrong.
  • SunShine Joanie 2012/06/05 14:51:38
    SunShine
    +3
    This is not a racial matter at all.. it is one of forcing someone to do something against their religious beliefs.. honoring something that is not a God given right. The law states that marriage is between one man and one woman..
  • Joanie SunShine 2012/06/05 14:55:31
    Joanie
    +1
    You missed the entire point of my post, which is that, under the law, "religion" or "faith" does not give people the right to disobey laws such as anti-discrimination laws. Laws prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people are anti-discrimination laws. I am not surprised that you missed the point because people hiding their bigotry behind their "faith" or "religion" routinely miss the point.
  • cowboy Joanie 2012/06/05 15:34:53
    cowboy
    +2
    Sounds like the only bigot here is you against people of faith.
  • Joanie cowboy 2012/06/05 15:38:02
    Joanie
    +2
    No. I have nothing against people of faith. I just know that the law is and should be that people cannot choose to disobey anti-discrimination laws because their "faith" tells them those laws are wrong, just like Native Americans cannot possess illegal drugs because their religion tells them to.
  • cowboy Joanie 2012/06/05 15:51:14
    cowboy
    +4
    Would you refuse service to a known child molester shopping at Toys R US? What about if you were a massage therapist and the man who raped you walked in. Would you refuse him service? People can go and get services other places. The only thing I think that nobody should be able to refuse anyone service to is life threatening medical care.
  • Joanie cowboy 2012/06/05 16:05:08 (edited)
    Joanie
    +1
    You may believe whatever you choose to believe, but the law says you cannot discriminate against LGBT people, and if you do, you have to pay damages. I am saying, and the law is clear, that "religious faith" does not give people carte blanche to disobey laws that they claim their "faith" disagrees with.
  • cowboy Joanie 2012/06/05 17:23:50
    cowboy
    +2
    I do like the way you refused to answer those tough questions. That is ok. Have a great day!
  • Joanie cowboy 2012/06/05 17:52:19 (edited)
    Joanie
    +1
    Your tough questions were simply not relevant to the point I was making, nor were they relevant to this posting. I hope you have a great day also!
  • cowboy SunShine 2012/06/05 19:53:34 (edited)
    cowboy
    In the reply below, I make an argument for refusing service to an individual. I was told it wasn't relevant to to post. I thought your post was about refusing service based on beliefs. I believe child molestation and rape are bad things. Therefore i should be able to refuse any kind of service to those people.
  • Brendan... SunShine 2012/06/06 09:56:14
    Brendan Mcdonald
    Accually you are very wrong hate to burst your bubble sir but churches cannot be forced to marry any couple gay straight, etc a churches right to practice their faith as they see fit is protected by the first amendment. But you see the argument of the ifrst amendment and its meaning is twisted around mostly by your crowd the religious right who seems to deem itself fit to stick its foot into the door of government and put pressure to make and pass laws or bands to fit your religious own specific "faith" which is a direct violation of the first amendment and not having the government favoring one religion thus preventing an established religion. and in every state that is not true for instance the state I live in marriage can be one man one women, one man one man, one women one women, yes homosexuals have every equal right to a full marriage and all benifits of a common law marriage in the state of New York and I feel this should be the way it is on a national level the United States needs to wake up and see that homosexual couples are every bit as normal loving healthy and happy as a straight couple.
  • texasred Joanie 2012/06/05 18:12:46
    texasred
    +2
    You have a right to your sexual preference. I have a right to disagree with it and not be forced to do something against my beliefs.
  • Joanie texasred 2012/06/05 18:18:23 (edited)
    Joanie
    +1
    You do have the right to disagree with my sexual preference. You most certainly can, however, be forced to do something against your beliefs. People are forced to do things against their beliefs all the time. For example, the Aryan Nation is a racist organization, but if someone in that organization owns a business, he cannot refuse to hire someone because he is black, even if hiring the black person is against his beliefs. The same is true of Native Americans and peyote as I noted above. The religion of some Native American tribes specifies that they should participate in ceremonies involving eating peyote buttons, but the Supreme Court has held that the States can make it a crime for Native Americans to possess peyote; in other words the States can force the Native Americans to do something against their religion.
  • texasred Joanie 2012/06/05 18:40:48
    texasred
    +1
    The Aryan Nation's racism is not a religion. Native Americans are given a lot of leeway around the laws, and rightfully so. Requiring a Christian or a Muslim or anyone else to provide business services against their religious beliefs regarding LGBT is trampling on their First Amendment rights.
  • Joanie texasred 2012/06/05 18:47:32
    Joanie
    +1
    I am sorry, but you are just mistaken. There are Aryan Nation churches. And, as I noted above, in certain states Native Americans are not given leeway around the laws, notwithstanding their religious beliefs. And your belief that Christians have a constitutional right to discriminate in hiring against LGBT people is not supported by any court decision, and, in fact, the claim has been rejected by the courts.
  • texasred Joanie 2012/06/05 20:08:54
    texasred
    +1
    I know it's been rejected by the courts.... this is a prime example. Nevertheless, forcing someone to do something against their religious beliefs is against the First Amendment. Activist judges have corrupted the Constitution to fit their wants and agenda. And I'd definitely like to see what would happen if a Muslim, not a Christian, was involved.
  • Joanie texasred 2012/06/06 02:01:18
    Joanie
    Forcing someone to do something against their religious beliefs is not necessarily against the First Amendment. If someone's religion tells them to kill all Christians regardless of where they are, and the person commits a murder of a Christian, he can be prosecuted. In other words, the government would be entitled to force that person to do something against his religion. There is a famous song by the Dead Kennedys with the lyric, "God told me to skin you alive."
  • texasred Joanie 2012/06/06 23:04:31
    texasred
    Within reason, Joanie. Within reason. Photography is a far cry from murder... especially when there are other photography businesses that would have absolutely no problem providing the service.
  • Joanie texasred 2012/06/06 23:54:29
    Joanie
    The government can make it illegal to refuse to do business with people because of the color of their skin or their sexual orientation.
  • JackSchitt Joanie 2012/06/05 22:44:12
    JackSchitt
    +2
    If you're talking about restaurants refusing to serve blacks, you're referencing 42 USC Sec. 2000a

    "All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, 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, lunch counter, inn, hotel or other walk-in business where they HAVE to serve everyone. She can pick and choose her customers for ANY reason.
  • Joanie JackSchitt 2012/06/06 01:54:20 (edited)
    Joanie
    In the case of a restaurant refusing to serve blacks, one can file also under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981 which deals with the rights of all persons to make contracts, etc. So your citation of 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000a doesn't help you.
  • JackSchitt Joanie 2012/06/06 15:47:11
    JackSchitt
    I seriously doubt that anyone would pursue a refusal of service case using section 1981. It is commonly used for discriminatory employment and working conditions cases.

    Whereas 2000a is always referenced in refusal of service cases:

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com...
    http://www.clearinghouse.net/...
    http://bulk.resource.org/cour...
    http://www.legalzoom.com/us-l...

    In fact, the decision in this case we're discussing (Willock v. Elane Photography) SPECIFICALLY references 2000a ...not 1981. Search for it yourself.
    http://volokh.com/files/willo...
  • Joanie JackSchitt 2012/06/06 15:55:34
    Joanie
    You needn't doubt any longer:

    From Morris v. Office Max, Inc. (7th Cir.)

    I'm a civil rights lawyer and I know whereof I speak.

    In this case, although Morris and Nailor say that the case should be remanded for trial, thus implicitly arguing that there are disputed issues of material fact precluding the grant of summary judgment, their real argument is about, as they phrase it, “whether there is a federal remedy under either 42 U.S.C. Section 1981 or 42 U.S.C. Section 1982 when a store summons the police to ‘check out’ patrons simply because the patrons are African-American․”   Specifically, they claim on appeal that the district court erred in granting summary judgment because (1) §§ 1981 and 1982 provide federal remedies for patrons who have been discriminated against on the basis of race while making a prospective purchase in a retail setting, and (2) a triable issue exists whether Office Max's actions deprived them of their property interest in prospective contractual relations.

    Section 1981 addresses racial discrimination in contractual relationships.   As amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the statute reads in relevant part:

    (a) All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts ․ a...







    &
    You needn't doubt any longer:

    From Morris v. Office Max, Inc. (7th Cir.)

    I'm a civil rights lawyer and I know whereof I speak.

    In this case, although Morris and Nailor say that the case should be remanded for trial, thus implicitly arguing that there are disputed issues of material fact precluding the grant of summary judgment, their real argument is about, as they phrase it, “whether there is a federal remedy under either 42 U.S.C. Section 1981 or 42 U.S.C. Section 1982 when a store summons the police to ‘check out’ patrons simply because the patrons are African-American․”   Specifically, they claim on appeal that the district court erred in granting summary judgment because (1) §§ 1981 and 1982 provide federal remedies for patrons who have been discriminated against on the basis of race while making a prospective purchase in a retail setting, and (2) a triable issue exists whether Office Max's actions deprived them of their property interest in prospective contractual relations.

    Section 1981 addresses racial discrimination in contractual relationships.   As amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the statute reads in relevant part:

    (a) All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts ․ as is enjoyed by white citizens․

    (b) For purposes of this section, the term “make and enforce contracts” includes the making, performance, modification, and termination of contracts, and the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges, terms, and conditions of the contractual relationship.

    (c) The rights protected by this section are protected against impairment by nongovernmental discrimination and impairment under color of State law.

    42 U.S.C. § 1981(a)-(c).

    Litigation involving § 1981 most commonly involves the right to make and enforce contracts of employment.  Rivers v. Roadway Express, Inc., 511 U.S. 298, 114 S.Ct. 1510, 128 L.Ed.2d 274 (1994).   Claims involving retail transactions have been infrequent.   Patrons have, however, brought suits under § 1981 for refusal of service, see Washington v. Duty Free Shoppers, Ltd., 710 F.Supp. 1288 (N.D.Cal.1988);  Shen v. A & P Food Stores, No. 93 CV 1184(FB), 1995 WL 728416 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 21, 1995);  for removal from the store, Flowers v. The TJX Companies, No. 91-CV-1339, 1994 WL 382515 (N.D.N.Y. July 15, 1994);  and for a store practice of recording the race of all customers paying by check, Roberts v. Walmart Stores, Inc., 769 F.Supp. 1086 (E.D.Mo.1991).
    (more)
  • JackSchitt Joanie 2012/06/06 16:54:29
    JackSchitt
    Did we change from talking about "refusal of service" and I just missed it? Or are you just doing your own thing again?
  • Joanie JackSchitt 2012/06/06 19:35:12
    Joanie
    You know you should play nice here if you can't read. This is from my prior post:

    "Patrons have, however, brought suits under § 1981 for refusal of service, see Washington v. Duty Free Shoppers, Ltd., 710 F.Supp. 1288 (N.D.Cal.1988);  Shen v. A & P Food Stores, No. 93 CV 1184(FB), 1995 WL 728416 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 21, 1995)"
  • JackSchitt Joanie 2012/06/06 20:24:44
    JackSchitt
    I read perfectly well thank you. Sorry I was still reading the part that agreed with my original statement....

    "Litigation involving § 1981 most commonly involves the right to make and enforce contracts of employment"

    ... and wondering if you had taken the time read the Willock v. Elane Photography decision that clearly references 2000a.

    http://volokh.com/files/willo...
  • Scalded Eagle 2012/06/05 13:35:14 (edited)
    Scalded Eagle
    +5
    Yet another instance of Govt over-reach in the agenda to contol all aspects of our lives and to achieve a Christian status of dont ask dont tell. The leftist have already stated that the only ostacles to the overthrow of America, is to abolish our religion and American family values. This case will work towards both of those ends. Thanks for posting this SunShine,
  • Jackie G - Poker Playing Pa... 2012/06/05 13:27:01
    Jackie G - Poker Playing Patriot
    +3
    SC will not let this stand -
  • Sheila 2012/06/05 13:15:02
    Sheila
    +5
    I would have to ask in open court if the judge was all good with SLAVERY. Because for pay or not if I have NO CHOICE in whether or not to work then it IS slavery.

    When all the small businesses that are being taken advantage of like this start to refuse to pay taxes maybe the gov will understand that we are NOT OK with this crap!!!
  • SunShine Sheila 2012/06/05 14:52:49
    SunShine
    +2
    interesting idea Sheila..
  • Stacie 2012/06/05 12:49:07
    Stacie
    +5
    Not this Christian.

    If they ever attempt to do so, they will have one hell of a fight on their hands.
  • Sheila Stacie 2012/06/05 13:17:41
    Sheila
    +5
    Amen sister!!

    I guess they could have gone ahead and them had all the cameras "malfunction". No lawsuit there right?

    It seems like all this does is promote DIShonesty. It will go from sorry, we don't choose to take this job to sorry, but we are closed that day.
  • FeedFwd ~POTL 2012/06/05 12:48:49
    FeedFwd ~POTL
    +8
    They better be careful what they ask for. I could imagine somebody being forced to take pictures requiring a non-refundable deposit and accidentally double exposing the pictures, cutting half of the people out of the pictures, forgetting film or something else equally disastrous. If it were me, I would just have a scheduling conflict or increase my fees to an exhorbitant level. How dumb is this anyway?

    As for constituional rights, the rights were actually written as protections from governmental abuse of authority. The Bill of Rights actually define what the government may not do, not what the people may do. When we lose the right to say no, for any reason, we are no different than slaves.
  • SunShine FeedFwd... 2012/06/05 14:54:16
    SunShine
    +2
    excellent comment.. thank you
  • beavith1 FeedFwd... 2012/06/05 18:07:49
    beavith1
    +3
    good point. i suppose the NM appeals court will then mandate 'excellent service,' too.

    this is a cockamamie decision.
  • Hawkeye 2012/06/05 12:15:51
    Hawkeye
    +7
    Contrary to popular belief,, the Constitution only indirectly protects the Church's right to freedom of Religion..

    In actuality.. The COnstitution makes NO mention of the Church.. The First Amendment protects the individual's right to Religious Freedom and the Church,, made UP of such individuals,, gains that protection by defualt because that CHurch is made up of individuals that fall under those protections..

    The POINT that I am making and I feel that it HAS to be made is that Obama's Mandate is trying to isolate the protections of the actual Church,, which they concede IS protected,, from the indivuduals that make UP that church which THEY bsay doesn't fall under COnstitutional Protection.. The Church can refuse to obey the mandate.. An Individual Christian in business for him/herself cannot.. THIS,, as is almost ALWAYS the case with religion and the COnstitution,, is EXACTLY backwards from what the COnstitution actually says..

    When one considers that the PRIMARY function of the COnstitution is to protect the American Citizen from the DICTATES of their OWN Government with regard to the enumerated rights,, the reasoning behind the opinion ; "accept the reasonable regulations and restrictions imposed upon the conduct of their commercial enterprise despite their personal re...



    Contrary to popular belief,, the Constitution only indirectly protects the Church's right to freedom of Religion..

    In actuality.. The COnstitution makes NO mention of the Church.. The First Amendment protects the individual's right to Religious Freedom and the Church,, made UP of such individuals,, gains that protection by defualt because that CHurch is made up of individuals that fall under those protections..

    The POINT that I am making and I feel that it HAS to be made is that Obama's Mandate is trying to isolate the protections of the actual Church,, which they concede IS protected,, from the indivuduals that make UP that church which THEY bsay doesn't fall under COnstitutional Protection.. The Church can refuse to obey the mandate.. An Individual Christian in business for him/herself cannot.. THIS,, as is almost ALWAYS the case with religion and the COnstitution,, is EXACTLY backwards from what the COnstitution actually says..

    When one considers that the PRIMARY function of the COnstitution is to protect the American Citizen from the DICTATES of their OWN Government with regard to the enumerated rights,, the reasoning behind the opinion ; "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 ",,,

    Governmental Interests is PRECISELY what the COnstitution was meant to protect the American Citizen FROM..

    The left LOVES to HOWL over the very IDEA that there is a WAR against Christianity going on in this country and they are right.. This ISN'T just a WAR on Christianity.. it's a war on the Constitution..
    (more)

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