New Mexico commission orders $6,000 fine for Christian beliefs
Jeff Johnson - OneNewsNow - 4/11/2008 6:00:00 AM
A Christian law firm will appeal a ruling by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission fining a photographer who refused to take photos of a homosexual commitment ceremony.
Elaine Huguenin and her husband Jon, who co-own Elane Photography in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are both Christians. So when a lesbian couple asked them to photograph their “commitment ceremony” in Taos, the Huguenins politely refused. In response, Vanessa Willock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission claiming the Huguenins discriminated against her because of her “sexual orientation.” On Wednesday, the Commission found the Christian couple guilty of discrimination under state anti-discrimination laws and ordered them to pay more than $6,000 in costs.
Should a Christian business owner have the right to refuse business they feel might compromise their personal testimony or their company policy?
Jordan Lorence with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) represented the Huguenins. He contends the lawsuit reflects an attitude among homosexual activists.
“This decision is a stunning disregard for religious liberty and First Amendment freedoms of people of faith, of Christians, and those who believe in traditional marriage defined as one man and one woman,” says the attorney. “This shows the very disconcerting, authoritarian face of the homosexual activists, who are using these non-discrimination laws as weapons against Christians in the business world and Christians in their churches.”
Lorence believes the Huguenins will win an appeal of the decision. But he warns this is how similar laws in 19 other states, and the proposed federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, can be misused to silence biblical beliefs.
“There is a great threat to our religious liberties and our ability to speak out in favor of traditional marriage when these non-discrimination laws are interpreted in such a harsh way to censor Christians and others,” he asserts.
Lorence said Americans do not surrender their freedoms of speech or religion just because they choose to open a business. He added that the Commission’s decision is tantamount to the State of New Mexico forcing a vegetarian videographer to create a commercial for a butcher shop.