It is often claimed that the advancing of sexual orientation rights, even gay marriage, would do nothing antagonistic to the rights of others. The common rhetorical question is, “what harm can one person’s consensual relationship do to others?” Well, an Albuquerque couple discovered exactly what harm can come when they didn’t fall in line with the desires of others.
In 2006, Elaine and Jon Huguenin, who co-own Elaine Photography, received a request to photograph a homosexual commitment ceremony. Because of their religious opposition to homosexual relationships, they declined the request for services.
Even though New Mexico doesn’t recognize gay marriage, it does offer legal protections against discrimination based on ‘sexual orientation’, and on this basis, Vanessa Willock, the person requesting the services for her ceremony, took the Huguenins to court where it was determined they had discriminated against Willock, and awarded her $6,637.94 in fees.
The case is currently on appeal from a 2nd Judicial District Court ruling. What is clear is that there is a looming conflict between the advancement of the rights of homosexuals, and those of Christian conviction. This conflict belies the idea that such rights can co-exist without imposition – and these laws will inevitably reduce the religious liberties of those who are bound by their consciences against sanctioning certain practices. The question remains, will the law conform to our Constitution which expressly protects religious liberties, or be corrupted by various state actions which aren’t rooted in American jurisprudence?