The U.S. Supreme Court will not take up an appeal from an Albuquerque photographer, who refused to work a same-sex commitment ceremony on the grounds of her religious beliefs.
The decision leaves the lower court's ruling in place, which found the photographer, Elaine Huguenin, guilty of violating state anti-discrimination law.
In 2006, Vanessa Willock contacted Elane Photography to photograph a commitment ceremony for two women. Huguenin’s husband, Jonathan, declined, stating that they didn’t want to take pictures of something that conflicted with their religious beliefs.
Willock sued, and the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that Elane Photography violated state public accommodation law.
"It may be that Elane Photography expresses its clients' messages in its photographs, but only because it is hired to do so," the court said.
Huguenin’s appeal argued that she has a right to free expression as a creative artist and that the same-sex client was compelling her to express something she opposes.
Willock’s attorney urged the high court not to review the case, stating that a private business is not hired to express its own message.
"Customers do not pay for the privilege of facilitating the company's message. Customers pay to have their own events memorialized," said Tobias Wolff of the University of Pennsylvania Law School.