Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin of Albuquerque, New Mexico are the owners of Elane Photography. They also happen to be Christians who do their best to live and run their business by their Christian values.
In 2006, Vanessa Willock contacted Elane Photography and asked they would photograph her ‘commitment ceremony’ with her lesbian partner. Elaine Huguenin refused to accept the request based upon her Christian belief. Both Elaine and Jon felt strongly that the message being presented by the lesbian ceremony was against their Christian faith and therefore it would be wrong of them to participate in any fashion.
At the time, same-sex marriages and civil unions were not recognized as being legal in the state of New Mexico. Willock and her partner were attempting to do the next best thing in their minds by having a commitment ceremony.
After Elaine turned down the request, Willock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission. The complaint stated that the Huguenins had discriminated against Willock because of her sexual orientation. In the meantime, Willock secured another photographer to photo their sinful and perverse ceremony.
In 2008, the New Mexico Human Rights Commission ruled that the Huguenins engaged in sexual orientation discrimination and ordered them to pay Willock $6,639.94 in legal fees. The case then went before a trial judge who upheld the commission’s decision.
In 2009, the Alliance Defense Fund appealed the court’s decision which moved the case before the New Mexico Court of Appeals who just rendered their decision to also uphold the commission’s ruling. Contained in the 45 page ruling, the court said that the photography business is a public accommodation and as such cannot use their faith to discriminate against others based upon sexual orientation. Part of the ruling read,
“The owners of Elane Photography must accept the reasonable regulations and restrictions imposed upon the conduct of their commercial enterprise despite their personal religious beliefs that may conflict with these governmental interests.”
Jordan Lance, senior counsel and senior vice-president of the Office of Strategic Initiatives for the Alliance Defense Fund commented about the ruling saying,
“Americans in the marketplace should not be subjected to legal attacks for simply abiding by their beliefs. Should the government force a videographer who is an animal rights activist to create a video promoting hunting and taxidermy? Of course not, and neither should the government force this photographer to promote a message that violates her conscience. Because the Constitution prohibits the state from forcing unwilling artists to promote a message they disagree with, we will certainly appeal this decision to the New Mexico Supreme Court.”
If this ruling is upheld by both the New Mexico Supreme Court and US Supreme Court, it could be used as the legal precedent for any homosexual to sue a Christian business if they believe they have been discriminated against in any form. It will also be used to force any Christian operating a business that is open to the public to do things that are against their faith or face a lengthy court battle and end up having to pay hefty fines and legal fees.
It has been said time and time again, that homosexuals do not want equal treatment, rather they want preferential treatment above and beyond what everyone else gets. They want special rights, not equal rights and they are succeeding in securing them at the cost of Christian’s rights. The only way for homosexuals to gain their rights is to strip Christians of theirs and that is exactly what is happening. And it’s happening because too many Christians in America have been too complacent and have done nothing to protect our Christian rights.
If what is happening to Elaine and Jon Huguenin disgusts and upsets you, then get off your butt and do something about it. Contact your own local, state and federal politicians and urge them to protect America’s Christian rights and values. Get out and help campaign for those men and women who will work to protect our rights. When November comes around, get out and vote for those candidates who will do what’s right.
Most importantly, pray, pray and pray some more. Prayer is the most powerful tool and weapon a Christian has. If every Christian earnestly prayed for our nation and its leaders, we would see a remarkable change in our country. I wish every Christian would post 2 Chronicles 7:14 in their homes and memorize it and teach it to their children. If we want to save our nation, we need to follow God’s instructions when He said,
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”
Amen! Amen! Amen!