Monday, April 7, 2014

Supreme Court Lets NM Photographer Ruling Stand

This is a follow up to the below post:

I have no idea what the court was thinking by letting previous rulings stand that found that a vendor has no right to exercise his or her conscience. More people are going to be charged with illegal acts of discrimination or violations of human rights, and the accused will want to have their rights upheld by the Court.

This was a terrible decision from all angles; the issue must be settled one way or the other so that both sides know for certain whether or not a major political battle is needed.

The US is sinking into the status of a totalitarian state, and The People are either too unorganized to mount an effective defense or utterly oblivious to the awesome implications of laws and regulations that restrict one's freedom of conscience in a very profound manner.

-and we no longer have a Supreme Court that acts as a final bulwark for our freedoms.

"WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court declined Monday to decide if a New Mexico wedding photographer was within her rights when she refused to work at a same-sex ceremony.The denial leaves standing a decision by the state's highest court that went against the photo studio — although the local dispute has been long since rendered moot.

The case would have posed an important constitutional question with potentially sweeping implications: whether merchants whose products are inherently expressive must serve customers even when it conflicts with their beliefs.

That could include marketers, advertisers, publicists, website designers, writers, videographers and photographers — and perhaps others.

With the same-sex marriage movement winning legal battles state by state, the case could have been one of the most important of the court's next term.

The case featured Elaine Huguenin and her husband Jonathan, whose Albuquerque photo studio informed Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth in 2006 that it only worked "traditional weddings."

Willock and Collinsworth had no trouble finding another photographer for their September 2007 ceremony. But Willock filed a complaint against Elane Photography with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, charging that the snub violated the state's anti-discrimination law. Twenty other states have similar laws.

The Huguenins have been on the losing side throughout the legal tussle. The commission and the state's Supreme Court ruled that New Mexico's anti-discrimination law forbids for-profit businesses from turning down customers on the basis of sexual orientation. The court said the studio violated that law "in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races."

The Huguenins' petition to the Supreme Court was based on their freedom of speech, which they interpret as the right to decide what messages their photography conveys.

"Of particular relevance here is the Huguenins' sincere religious belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman," their petition said. "They believe that if they were to communicate a contrary message about marriage — by, for example, telling the story of a polygamous wedding ceremony — they would be disobeying God."

That set the case apart from legislative efforts in some states to establish religious exemptions to anti-discrimination statutes. The Huguenins' lawyers and supporters did not claim that businesses such as restaurants and hotels can refuse to serve gays and lesbians. A measure that could have had that effect was vetoed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in February.........."

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