The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Elane Photography cannot discriminate against gay couples on the basis of religious beliefs.
The company's co-founder Elaine Huguenin (pictured with husband Jon Huguenin) refused to photograph the commitment ceremony of Vanessa Willock and her lesbian partner in 2006 because Huguenin claimed it would violate her Christian beliefs against homosexuality.
Huguenin also claimed that photography is protected under the First Amendment, which refers to "freedom of the press."
But the court rejected both arguments and ruled that the photography company had violated New Mexico’s Human Rights Act “in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races.”
According to the Associated Press, New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Richard Bosson wrote in his opinion that the Huguenins “have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us a people."
"That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship.”
Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, slammed the court's decision in a press release, which said in part: "This decision is outrageous. While simultaneously admitting that this decision will harm the Huguenins, the court uses its full power of coercion to force them to compromise their beliefs."