Christian Business Owners Face Thousands of Dollars in Fines After Supreme Court Rejects Appeal Over Refusal to Provide Services for Homosexual Wedding

Elaine and Jon Huguenin, owners of Elane Photography in Albuquerque, N.M. (Alliance Defending Freedom)
Elaine and Jon Huguenin, owners of Elane Photography in Albuquerque, N.M. (Alliance Defending Freedom)

An appeal brought by a photographer who refused to take pictures of gay weddings was turned down by the Supreme Court on Monday morning. The court also refused to hear a challenge to a ban on campaign contributions by corporations, and allowed a district court case over U.S. surveillance to continue.

The photography case was brought by Elane Photography, a New Mexico business run by a husband-and-wife team who said their First Amendment rights allowed them to refuse service to a woman who had sought to hire the company to photograph her commitment ceremony with her partner.

Saying the ceremony resembled a traditional wedding, the business owners refused the work on the grounds that “they did not want to create images expressing messages about marriage that conflict with their religious beliefs,” according to their petition for an appeal.

Their Supreme Court filing says the owners are artists who “create expression for paying customers,” and thus cannot be compelled to create expression that goes against their beliefs. In 2008, New Mexico said the company “was guilty of discrimination” and should pay thousands in attorneys’ fees, as NPR reported.

That ruling set the current request for a court case in motion. The Supreme Court rejected the photographers’ case without comment. The issue of refusing services related to gay marriages has also arisen elsewhere, such as in Colorado, where a cake maker refused a couple’s business, as NPR’s Liz Halloran reported last December.

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NPR: the two-way

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