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US judge orders Christian photographers to shoot same sex ceremonies

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New Mexico's highest court has ruled that the owners of a photography company had acted unlawfully when they declined to shoot a same sex commitment ceremony on the basis of their Christian beliefs about marriage and sexual ethics.

Legal action

In 2006, Venessa Willock brought legal action against Elane Photography, owned by Jonathan and Elane Hagueni after she was told that the couple had a conscientious objection to shooting her wedding ceremony with another woman.

The New Mexico Supreme Court has now ruled that the couple were in breach of laws prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, saying that there was a “price” to pay for their Christian faith - including “compromising” their beliefs.

The couple have been ordered to pay Ms Willock $6,637 in compensation.

Ruling

Passing the ruling, Justice Richard C. Bosson said: “At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others”.

He added: “That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people”.

“In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship”.

“Even if the services it offers are creative or expressive, Elane Photography must offer its services to customers without regard for the customers’ race, sex, sexual orientation, or other protected classification”.

Continuing clash

Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Jonathan and Elane said: “Our legal opponents have effectively argued that if you want to do business in this country – keep your faith out of it. Now, the New Mexico Supreme Court has further illustrated the continuing clash between religious freedom and an ongoing effort to force political correctness on American citizens.

"Alliance Defending Freedom is considering our legal options in this case, including asking the U.S. Supreme Court to right this wrong."

Concern

Pro-marriage campaigner Ryan T. from The Heritage Foundation said: “This decision highlights the increasing concern many have that anti-discrimination laws and same-sex marriage run roughshod over the rights of conscience and religious liberty.

He added: “In a growing number of incidents, government hasn't respected the beliefs of Americans. Citizens must insist that government not discriminate against those who hold to the historic definition of marriage.

“Policy should prohibit the government -- or anyone who receives taxpayers' dollars -- from discriminating in employment, licensing, accreditation or contracting against those who believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman.”

Sources:

The Wall Street Journal

Christian Post

Alliance Defending Freedom

Alliance Defending Freedom

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