On Thursday, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that religious wedding photographers could be forced to photograph same-sex weddings. “When Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the [New Mexico Human Rights Act, or NMHRA] in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races,” the court ruled unanimously.
The court said that Elaine Huguenin, the photographer, had discriminated against gay customers for not photographing their weddings, even though she had said she would be happy to take their pictures in different contexts. The court also refused any differentiation whatsoever between homosexual and heterosexual conduct under the law, despite the fact that same-sex marriage is not licensed in the state of New Mexico. Justice Edward Chavez wrote, “The difficulty in distinguishing between status and conduct in the context of sexual orientation discrimination is that people may base their judgment about an individual’s sexual orientation on the individual’s conduct. To allow discrimination based on conduct so closely correlated with sexual orientation would severely undermine the purpose of the NMHRA.” In other words, orientation and conduct are so intertwined that to discriminate against activity would be to discriminate against the person — an odd line of logic, given that it would then follow that discriminating against religious activity would constitute discrimination on the basis of religion, making the court’s logic self-defeating.
Justice Richard Bosson wrote, in concurrence, that the Huguenins are “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.” He concluded, “The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in their personal lives wherever they lead. The Constitution protects the Huguenins in that respect and much more. But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.” That “compromise,” he wrote, “is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship.”
It may be the price of citizenship for the left, but it is the polar opposite of what the founders stood for when they wrote the First Amendment protecting freedom of religion. This is state-sponsored tyranny at its finest.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).