The week’s off to a bad start for the religious right. The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from husband-and-wife photographers in New Mexico who claimed that they were exercising free speech when they refused to take pictures at lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony. Right-wing activists had championed the case and used it as the basis for pushing “religious liberty” laws in multiple state legislatures, including Arizona.
Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin were approached by Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth to take pictures of the couple’s commitment ceremony in 2007. The Huguenins refused saying that to do so would “require them to create expression conveying messages that conflict with their religious beliefs.” The state human rights commission ruled that the Huguenins violated nondiscrimination protections, a ruling upheld by the state Supreme Court.
In refusing to take up the appeal, the Supreme Court may be deferring to another case with similar overtones in which it just heard arguments. That case, involving the Hobby Lobby store chain, questions whether corporations can cite religious exemptions to refuse complying with laws.
The right wing had seized upon the Huguenins as emblematic of “the cost of being a Christian.” In this case, at least, the Supreme Court seems to agree that the cost involves following the law and paying the consequences for violating it.
Photo credit: Bruce Ellefson, Alliance Defending Freedom