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Thursday, September 5, 2013

New Mexico overrules freedom of religion.

What sort of justice allows one person to dictate another person's freedom of religion?

New Mexico Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on a protected class, one such class being homosexuality.   Elane Photography, LLC, of Albuquerque refused to photograph a homosexual "commitment ceremony."  Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, who own Elane Photography’s, are "Christians who believe that marriage is a sacred union of one man and one woman."

Further, the Huguenins believe that photography is an art form protected under the First Amendment's freedom of the press clause.

To review:
  • The Huguenins apparently believe their right to religious freedom, as stated in the First Amendment, Bill of Rights, the US Constitution, protects their right to refuse to supply photography service. 
  • The state of New Mexico apparently believes the state has a right to dictate limit on peaceful practice of religion - as long as the state finds the practice is against a protected sub-class.
  • There is more than one wedding photographer in the Albuquerque phone book, so the state apparently believes members of protected sub-classes, such as homosexuals, have the right to compel other people to violate their religious scruples.
New Mexico posted a summary of the case.  You can see the homosexuals involved carefully targeted Elane Photography in section's 3 and 4 of the factual history.

{3} This case arose when Willock, who was involved in a same-sex relationship, emailed Elane Photography to inquire about photography for her upcoming commitment ceremony.  Willock indicated in the email that this would be a “same-gender ceremony.” Elane Photography quickly responded, thanking Willock for her interest but explaining that Elane Photography photographs “traditional weddings.” Unsure what Elane Photography meant by “traditional weddings,” Willock sent a second email asking Elane Photography to clarify whether it “does not offer [its] photography services to same-sex couples.” Elane Photography responded affirmatively, stating, “[y]es, you are correct in saying we do not photograph same-sex weddings,” and again thanked Willock for her interest in Elane Photography.

{4} Partner, without disclosing her same-sex relationship with Willock, sent an email to Elane Photography the next day. The email mentioned that Partner was getting married but did not specify whether the marriage was same-sex or “traditional.” Partner also asked Elane Photography whether it would be willing to travel for a wedding. Elane Photography responded that it would be willing to travel and included pricing information. Elane Photography also offered to meet with Partner to discuss options. When Elane Photography did not hear back from Partner, it sent a follow-up email to determine if Partner had any questions about the offered services.

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Its pretty clear the state of New Mexico would lose this case if the Huguenins have the energy and resources to appeal to a US Federal Court.  Even though the homosexuals belong to a legally protected sub-class of humanity, they are trying to make that protection an act of entitlement for them to force their ways and viewpoint on everyone.  They have the right to be what they want to be.  But the right stops when it impacts others' rights.  The Huguenins' First Amendment right to practice their own religion is clearly tread upon. 

New Mexico taxpayers should brace themselves to be forced to pay a hefty settlement.  Apparently taxpayers are not a protected class.

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Freedom of religion has more meaning than the mere freedom to believe what you want or practice whatever worship rituals you might like.  That stuff occurs behind closed doors.  Freedom of religion is the right to practice what you believe out in the open, in public.  Religion deals with what you think is important in your own life.  Most people spend a great deal of thought on what they believe in.  So, at its root, freedom of religion is embedded in freedom of thought.  An attack on freedom of religion embeds an attack on freedom of thought and free minds everywhere.

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More rancorous opinion on this topic?  Here's the link

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