connect with glaad

Supreme Court will not comment New Mexico photographer's case against lesbian couple

The U.S. Supreme Court denied this week to consider a highly publicized case that would examine religion and LGBT equality.

New Mexico wedding photographer, Elaine Huguenin, didn't want to photograph gay couple's commitment ceremony in 2006 because she did not believe in the women's relationship. The couple, Misti Collinsworth and Vanessa Willock, filed a complaint against the photographer's businesses, Elane Photography, asserting that her refusal was discriminatory.

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the request, without comment, to weigh in on whether or not the photographer was legally allowed to refuse her services.

Since the incident initially took place, both the New Mexico Human Rights Commission and the state's Supreme Court found in favor of Misti and Vanessa, citing that the state's anti-discrimination law covers sexual orientation. Furthermore, according to CNN, the court found "that the 'First Amendment does not exempt creative or expressive businesses from anti-discrimination laws.'"

Elaine's petition to the Supreme Court argued that photographing the ceremony would have violated her religious beliefs and her freedom of speech. She argued that being forced to photograph the lesbian couple would qualify as "compelled speech."

"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," according to USA Today.

CNN reported that at least six other states are currently considering cases that examine the legal relationship between religious freedom and the ability to deny services to people who are LGBT. While the US Supreme Court has not commented on this one case, the national debate is far from over.

Related Stories

 

Featured Story

GLAAD has released its second annual 'Studio Responsibility Index,' a report that maps the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBT people in films released by the seven largest motion picture studios during the 2013 calendar year.