Supreme Court Declines Anti-Gay Discrimination Case Involving New Mexico Photographer

ElanephotographyThe U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would not take up the case involving Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin (pictured), who refused to photograph the commitment ceremony of Vanessa Willock, a resident of Albuquerque, on the grounds that same-sex marriage conflicts with Christian beliefs.

The New Mexico Supreme Court had ruled that Elane Photography was violating the antidiscrimination provisions of the New Mexico Human Rights Act in August.

The Washington Blade reports:

In orders published Monday morning, the court listed the case, Elane Photography v. Willock, without comment among as the cases it won’t consider.

The case was brought to the Supreme Court by Elane Photography, which was found to have violated New Mexico’s anti-discrimination law for refusing to take a photo for the same-sex wedding ceremony for Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth in 2006. (The wedding was only ceremonial because the incident took place before the state legalized same-sex marriage.)

Elane Photography filed lawsuit in state court, alleging that its refusal to photograph a same-sex wedding is protected on religious grounds. However, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled against the claims, saying the businesses service can be regulated because it’s a public accommodation. Following that decision, Elane Photography asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the lawsuit based on First Amendment protections under the U.S. Constitution.


  1. Dave P says

    ‘New Mexico Supreme Court ruled against the claims, saying the businesses service can be regulated because it’s a public accommodation.’ What is so hard to understand about that?

  2. Frank says

    Gay marriage may conflict with the personal beliefs of the Huguenins, but it does not conflict with “Christian beliefs” generally since there are Christian churches all across the country now who are gladly performing gay weddings. Perhaps the Huguenin’s are actually the ones who are violating the religious freedom of others.

  3. litper says

    Jonathan really looks like a closeted gay who was forced in a straight marriage by his “beliefs”.

  4. bkmn says

    Taking pictures of an event is not an endorsement of the event. All the photographers are doing is performing a service for which they get paid.

    I don’t remember a commandment about thou shall not take pictures.

  5. jjose712 says

    This couple is frankly stupid. I think it they were polite but sincere, and tell the couple that they would made the pics of their wedding but due to their religious beliefs they will be uncomfortable doing and the coupld should chose a more gay friendly photografer, and i’m sure they woudln’t be any problem

  6. says

    Good news. The unanimous decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court got it right. Giving the religious a special pass to violate established non-discrimination law is unconstitutional.

  7. MaryM says

    Religious belief is a mental illness.

    When will these religious c***s realise that their moronic beliefs are so absurd.

    There is no ‘god.’

  8. Shannon says

    Well. The NM Supremes told them where to shove their religious beliefs. Right up their uptight,20th century butt holes. He does look like he’s closeted. And there a LOT of married men who are deeply closeted for various reasons. Straight society says gay people are messed up: have they really looked at how f**ked up the world is? That is because the breeders have f**ked it up.. Straight people,as usual, need scapegoats. Just wait til they find out their God & Jesus are GAY !!! That’ll mess with their heads big time…

  9. dixichuk says

    dang. I was so holding out hope for the younger generation. Guess bigotry does not discriminate based on age or gender.

  10. ppp says

    It takes four votes to hear the case I can imagine who are those three. Robert guy seems speculating if he wants to write the landmark decision and put his name on history.

  11. Francis says

    We’ll have to see what happens in other cases, but this could be a really big deal. Could be SCOTUS tipping their hand—that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is NOT justifiable under law. And that no, you cannot use “first amendment” to deny to bake a same-sex couple a cake or photograph their wedding.

  12. john patrick says

    Now they can continue to be professional martyrs the rest of their lives. I still maintain, however, that the right wing religious law groups that took and pushed their cases, were using them for their campaigns. And the bigots who held them up as fine examples of “christian” believers made money off their use of this couple.

  13. Smuggy says

    Corporations have no soul so they are barred from discrimination. If the dude just was a personal company he would have been able to refuse without retribution.

  14. says

    @Smuggy: Not sure what you mean by “personal company,” but the NM law applies to any public accommodation/business, not just corporations. Open to the public, subject to any applicable non-discrimination laws.

  15. Matt says

    All they had to say was that they would subcontract the photography due to their religious beliefs and then suggest going to a friendly photographer directly. They chose to make a fight out of this.

  16. jamal49 says

    Jonathan has major gay-face. Regardless, they both have that scary, placid, vapid look that is the hallmark of evangelicals. It’s like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They look like people. But they’re really not people.

  17. Jeton Ademaj says

    the feeding frenzy about this couple is misguided…including all the cheap speculation about the husband’s sexual orientation. THAT smacks of internalized homophobia…on the husband’s part, and on the part of commentators speculating same.

    All that matters now is that this couple’s legal gambit has utterly failed, and their return to anonymity is inevitable.

    no one should slow down their return to anonymity.

  18. enchantra says

    I support their right to Freedom Of Association, but I’d be a liar if I didn’t report thinking “Neener Neener Neener” when I read this.

  19. EchtKultig says

    “This does not bode well for the Because Jesus laws being passed in state legislatures.

    Posted by: Steve Rider | Apr 7, 2014 10:07:47 AM”

    No it doesn’t, and, could someone who understands Supreme Court law better than I please confirm…could one of the nutjob justices like Scalia have dissented on the dismissal? Is it telling that they saw no reason to?

    “including all the cheap speculation about the husband’s sexual orientation. THAT smacks of internalized homophobia”

    Nope, it certainly does not. I can’t tell you how many fundie Christian husbands I’ve met who screamed closet case. Evangelism in the US literally attracts closet cases who need a mean sky-god to disapprove of their orientation and threaten them with damnation. In fact I recently googled one I mentioned in a past comment: a lisping Mormon coworker who was really into me back when I was a cute early 20-something. (he was probably around 40) Found him in a listing of all Utah divorces…he finally gave up on the marriage, or his wife did at least.

  20. Bernie says

    What the US Supreme Court did today without saying a word will echo for the gay community for years to come….but more importantly this decision by the Supreme Court confirms my prediction that the so called religious freedom laws passed by some states will NOT hold up in court and the gay community will have the last laugh on this…..

  21. Gay Guy says

    I’ll bet if they were asked to do a Jewish wedding they wouldn’t have objected. Doesn’t that also contradict their “Christian” beliefs?

  22. Bud Clark says

    I’m 70 years old.

    I’ve lived long enough to see more advances in GLBTQAI civil rights than I ever dreamed possible.

    I cried tears of joy at the sudden explosion of transgender legal protections … they’ve waited SO long.

    I agree we shouldn’t cheapen the victory with gratuitous comments about the husband’s perceived sexual orientation, BUT

    I’d still photograph him butt-nekkid with a chub … sometimes bois just GOTTA have fun! (chuckle)

  23. Caligula says

    look at those smug, straight white bigots. actualy, the guy has gay face…hmmmm