Court finds that Elane Photography violated state's Human Rights Act
Elaine Huguenin told a lesbian couple in New Mexico that she could not photograph their 2006 wedding because it would violate her religious beliefs.
On Thursday, the New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Huguenin had violated the state’s Human Rights Act.
The court stated that in turning away plaintiff Vanessa Willock and her partner, Elane Photography in Albuquerque had violated the act in the same way as if it had turned away a couple of opposite races.
‘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 [New Mexico Human Rights Act] and must serve same-sex couples on the same basis that it serves opposite-sex couples,’ the court stated in its opinion.
The five justices stated that businesses that choose to be ‘public accommodations’ may express their religious or political beliefs but still must comply with anti-discrimination laws.