November 12, 2013 Print

Wedding Photographers Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

by Bethany Monk

A legal group is asking the nation’s high court to weigh in on a New Mexico case involving a husband-and-wife photography company required to abandon their religious beliefs as the “price of freedom.”

Elaine Huguenin runs Elane Photography in Albuquerque with her husband, Jonathan. In 2006, she declined to use her talents to photograph a “commitment ceremony.” New Mexico does not have same-sex marriages or same-sex civil unions. Nonetheless, the New Mexico Supreme Court, this summer, upheld a decision against the photographers.

This is nothing less than a “chilling and unprecedented attack on freedom,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence.

“We are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to make it clear that no American has to abandon their constitutionally protected freedoms just to make a living,” he said. “No American should be punished or put out of business for disagreeing with the government’s opinion on a moral issue.”

State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Bosson said the Huguenins are “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives,” adding “it is the price of citizenship.”

ADF legal counsel Jim Campbell disagrees.

“Every artist must be free to create work that expresses what he or she believes and not be forced by the government to express opposing views,” he explained. “A government that can force anyone to promote messages against his or her will is a government out of control.”

Read ADF’s petition filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Elane Photography v. Willock.

Read “Judge Rules Against Photographers.”