I am a strong supporter of gay marriage, but I think that the below story is an outrageous violation, by authorities in New Mexico, of conscientious religious objection.
A professional photographer who refused to take pictures of a gay couple’s commitment ceremony because of her religious beliefs violated New Mexico discrimination law, a human rights panel ruled. Vanessa Willock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission in 2006, contending that Albuquerque photographer Elaine Huguenin told her she photographed only traditional marriages. Huguenin and her husband, Jon, own Elane Photography.
And the commision’s reasoning for its ruling? Again, according to AP:
The commission viewed Huguenin’s business as a public accommodation, similar to a restaurant or a store.
A lower court has sided with the commission, generating an appeals process. I hope, as a gay marriage supporter, that this commission’s infringement on the conscience of a photographer is quickly overturned. It is not good for the gay rights movement to be seen as forcing religious people to participate in gay gatherings or civil union ceremonies, and it is not good for civil liberties and the protection of conscience. The right to non-participation and conscientious objection must be vigilantly safeguarded in a free society. It is one thing to tell religious people that they must not interfere with the freedoms and equal treatment of gay people under the law, but it is another thing entirely to force religious people to associate themselves with activities or functions that they regard as morally objectionable. Hopefully the State would never step in and require religious photographers to participate in a pornography convention or an atheist convention against their will, and so the State should likewise not be forcing photographers to participate in gay gatherings against their will.