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New Mexico Hub



04/19/2007


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.


Thursday Morning Speed Read: Mississippi, Lesbian Chef, Tammy Baldwin, New Mexico, Scrutiny Rehearing

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

MississippiLGBT RALLY FOR VETO:

LGBT groups will hold a rally on the lawn of the State Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi, at noon CDT today, in protest over the passage of a religious bias bill by the state legislature Tuesday. The groups, which include the national Human Rights Campaign, Equality Mississippi, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Lesbian and Gay Community Center, among others, will also hold a candlelight vigil this evening. As of Wednesday night, Republican Governor Phil Bryant has said he will sign the bill.

COURT UPHOLDS LARGE AWARD:

A state appeals court in New York on March 20 upheld a $1.6 million award to a lesbian chef whose boss who made repeated anti-gay statements, including saying all gay people were going to hell. A lower court judge granted the award for Mirella Salemi in 2012 against Edward Globokar, who owned the Manhattan restaurant at which she worked. The appeals panel said Globokar’s actions violated the New York City Human Rights Law by staging mandatory prayer meetings at work and “subjecting [Salemi] to an incessant barrage of offensive anti-homosexual invective.”

BaldwinBALDWIN INTROS FAIR EMPLOYMENT BILL:

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin also introduced the Fair Employment Protection Act (FEPA) March 13, to improve the law for the victims of workplace harassment. FEPA is specifically aimed at expanding an employer’s liability for workplace harassment. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, an employer’s liability for harassment perpetrated by a supervisor is greater than if perpetrated by another employee. But last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that for a court to consider an employee a supervisor, the employee authorized to take tangible actions against an harassment victim. If the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is ever passed, LGBT workers would be able to benefit from the anti-harassment laws strengthened by FEPA.

NewmexicoNEW MEXICO BLASÉ:

A Public Policy Polling survey of 674 registered voters in New Mexico between March 20 and 23 found that 76 percent said the legalizing of marriage for same-sex couples has had either no impact or a positive impact on their lives. The poll also found voters closely split on whether they support (47 percent) or oppose (45 percent) allowing same-sex couples to marry. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.8 percent.

SCRUTINY DECISION RE-HEARING?:

At least one judge on the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals bench has asked the full appeals court to review an historic panel ruling in January that said the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor, which struck the Defense of Marriage Act, “requires that heightened scrutiny be applied to equal protection claims involving sexual orientation.” The court last week asked both parties in SmithKline v. Abbott to submit briefs on whether the case should be reheard by the full court. But Jon Davidson, legal director for Lambda Legal, he seriously doubts a majority of the Ninth Circuit would vote to rehear the case.


Santa Fe Elects First Openly Gay Mayor

New Mexico's capital city has elected its first openly gay mayor. On Tuesday, Javier Gonzales was elected mayor of Santa Fe by a wide margin, taking in more than 43 percent of the vote.

JaviergonzalesThe Santa Fe New Mexican reports:

Gonzales made history as the city’s first openly gay mayor and will preside over a City Council on which two of the eight members are openly gay women — mayoral opponent Patti Bushee and newly elected Signe Lindell.

According to The Albuquerque Journal, this was also a first for the state: 

In what almost certainly a first in New Mexico, two of the mayoral candidates were openly gay — [Patti] Bushee has been “out” since before she entered public life two decades ago and Gonzales declared he was gay last year.

Their sexual orientation wasn’t an issue, at least publicly. While Bushee and Gonzales fought over issues like commitment to Santa Fe’s local “living wage” of $10.66 and hour, and there were ethics complaints filed against each of them (both ruled unfounded by the city’s ethics board), Dimas stayed quietly out of the fray, bypassing public candidate forums and staking out more conservative positions.

Gonzales, a Democrat, will be inaugurated into his new post on Monday.

Watch Gonzales and his supporters celebrate his win, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Santa Fe Elects First Openly Gay Mayor" »


New Mexico Judges Refuse To Officiate All Weddings

Back in December, New Mexico became the 17th state to introduce marriage equality. But judges in two of those state's counties (Eddy and Chaves Counties) have decided to stop performing any and all marriages

The Albuquerque Journal reports on the response of one of those judges, Eddy County Magistrate Judge Henry Castaneda who said: “I don’t have a problem with who wants to get married. But we don’t have to compromise our beliefs.”

The Current-Argus reports

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Neighboring county judges have also decided to no longer perform marriages. Jeff Ortega, chief deputy clerk for Chaves County, said judges informed the county of their decision months before the supreme court decision. In Lea County, however, two judges in Lovington did notify the county clerk that they were still going to continue to officiate weddings, said Pat Chappelle, Lea County clerk. Chappelle said the county has not received a significant spike in marriage licenses since the ruling, but the process has been a little slower because of a shortage of people who can legally sign off on marriage licenses.

 Judges are not required to officiate weddings but county clerks are required to issue licenses that must be signed by a judge, minister or tribal representative.

Watch a KRQE news segment about the story, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "New Mexico Judges Refuse To Officiate All Weddings" »


Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita Share Their Love Story: VIDEO

Mikita_ferguson

Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita share their love story and why they worked for marriage equality in Jesse's home state of New Mexico and will continue to work for it nationwide in a sweet new video for the ACLU.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita Share Their Love Story: VIDEO" »


NM County Clerk Who Spearheaded Marriage Equality Charge Donates Leftover Funds to Protect It

In late August, New Mexico's Doña Ana County made history when it began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. County Clerk Lynn Ellins was leading the charge, which engaged other counties until the the New Mexico Supreme Court finally decided the matter.

EllinsIn September, Ellins began raising private donations to help the county cover the cost of its legal fees and the fundraising effort was so successful that there was more cash to spare.

Ellins is now donating that money to a New Mexico group established to protect equal marriage rights, the Las Cruces Sun reports:

Ellins had raised private donations -- via a website and at his county office -- to pay for his defense in a civil lawsuit brought by opponents of his controversial August decision to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

After paying his legal bill, Ellins estimated a few thousand dollars are leftover. And he said he's giving that money to a campaign called New Mexico Unites for Marriage Equality.

"It's a nonprofit organization that was established the last year to basically protect the same-gender marriage rights," Ellins said.

Ellins' legal expenses tied to the state district court lawsuit totaled nearly $31,759, according to a Doña Ana County news release.


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