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Photographer Elaine Huguenin Takes Religious Freedom Fight To Supreme Court After Being Sued For Refusing To Take Photos Of Gay Commitment Ceremony

Rewind the clock to 2006, when photographer Elaine Huguenin refused to be the photographer for a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony. Huguenin was sued for discrimination by the lesbian couple, and the photographer is now taking her fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth filed a discrimination lawsuit against Huguenin, who runs a photography business in Albuquerque, N.M., according to Mail Online. State law prohibits businesses from discriminating against people based on their sexuality.

The photographer and her business, Elaine Photography, have so far lost the discrimination case in the courts, but she claims that being forced to take photos of the love story of a lesbian couple violates her right to free speech and her deeply-held Christian belief, so she’s taking the battle to the Supreme Court.

The New York Times notes that in asking the Supreme Court to hear her challenge to the law, Huguenin said that she would “gladly serve gays and lesbians — by, for example, providing them with portrait photography,” but that she did not want to tell the stories of same-sex weddings — something  her religion tells her is wrong.

An American Civil Liberties Union attorney noted that although it’s a difficult case, the equal treatment of same-sex couples is more important than the photographer’s business.

“This is a business,” Louise Melling told The New York Times. “At the end of the day, it sells services for photographing weddings. This is like putting up a sign that says ‘Heterosexual Couples Only.’”

However, The New York Times adds, that other supporters of gay rights and same-sex marriage said they would strike a different balance.

“Photographers, writers, singers, actors, painters and others who create First Amendment-protected speech must have the right to decide which commissions to take and which to reject,” the libertarian Cato Institute and two law professors — Eugene Volokh of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Dale Carpenter of the University of Minnesota — told the New Mexico Supreme Court.

Sources: Mail Online, The New York Times


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