Advocates of gay marriage and even opponents who grudgingly accept its inevitability say that it won’t affect Christians and other people who have moral qualms about homosexuality. But religious exemptions apparently only apply to churches and not to religious individuals. It looks like the anti-discrimination laws are going to force individuals and businesses to go along with gay marriage despite the dictates of their conscience. Or so says the New Mexico Supreme Court in ruling that a photographer has to shoot gay weddings even though he has religious objections to them.
A New Mexico event photographer’s refusal on religious grounds to shoot the commitment ceremony of a same-sex couple amounted to illegal discrimination, the state’s highest court ruled on Thursday.
New Mexico, along with 20 other states and the District of Columbia, has a law that explicitly protects individuals from being discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation. Another 29 states have no such protection.
In refusing to photograph the ceremony, Elane Photography violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act in the same way that it would have if the company had refused to photograph an inter-racial wedding, the New Mexico Supreme Court said.
“We conclude that a commercial photography business that offers its services to the public, thereby increasing its visibility to potential clients, is subject to the anti-discrimination provisions of the and must serve same-sex couples on the same basis that it serves opposite-sex couples,” the court ruled.