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American Proscenium

Picturing a Lesbian Wedding

Americans are getting a taste of unintended consequences from overly broad public-accommodation laws enacted in the past half-century.  Christian business owners are especially burdened when individuals practicing what once was considered perversity are deemed “suspect classes” and are thus entitled to heightened legal protection.

A prime example is Elane Photography v. Willock.  Elane Photography is a New Mexico business owned and operated by Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin.  The Huguenins found trouble when they declined to provide photography services for a homosexual “commitment ceremony.”  They objected to the request because the context of the ceremony would have required them to express a message via the photographs that conflicted with their religious beliefs.  Insulted by the Huguenins’ refusal to photograph the ceremony, the lesbian couple filed a discrimination claim with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission (NMRHC) alleging that Elane Photography refused to provide services because of the couple’s sexual orientation.

The basis of the complaint was the New Mexico Human Rights Act, which prohibits 

any person in any public accommodation to make a distinction directly or indirectly, in offering or refusing to offer services . . . to any person because of race, religion,...

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