Last week, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that a husband and wife who own a photography business illegally discriminated against a homosexual couple for refusing to shoot their same-sex “commitment ceremony.”
Back in 2006, Elaine and Jon Huguenin, co-owners of Elane Photography in Albuquerque, politely declined to accept the job, citing their Christian faith. The homosexual couple filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission. A one-day trial ensued, and in 2008 the commission issued a report claiming the Huguenins had committed “sexual orientation discrimination.” They were ordered to pay nearly $7,000 in fines. Our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom took up their case and appealed it in court, resulting in the most recent decision. ADF has pledged to appeal last week’s ruling.
In recent years, many of us have grown accustomed to court rulings that contradict our faith, but this one has seemed to strike a particularly sensitive and frustrating chord.
By ruling that the couple in this case was guilty of “sexual orientation discrimination,” the New Mexico Supreme Court is asking Christians to violate their deepest-held convictions. New Mexico doesn’t even have same-sex marriage, so the court ruled that this young couple should have recognized and been forced to participate in something the state’s own laws don’t even recognize.
This case is the writing on the wall for what will happen should current trends continue. As my colleague and marriage expert Glenn Stanton observed recently about this troubling violation of religious liberties, “I don’t think even the most imaginative of us can fathom today how over-the-top it’s going to get, and sooner than we might think.”
However, if you only watch the evening news, you probably weren’t aware of this very real threat to religious freedom.
That’s because the reporters themselves don’t know that when homosexual “rights” and religious liberty are at an impasse, it’s people of faith who often end up losing out.
Last year I met with various national-level secular reporters during a trip to New York. In one instance, we talked about same-sex marriage, and I referred to this threat to religious liberty. My comment was met with incredulousness.
“How are your religious liberties threatened by gay marriage?” they asked me.
No wonder the mainstream media isn’t covering this. And let me make this clear – I’m not even suggesting this is a cover-up. They simply don’t know. Even venerated journalists like CBS’ Bob Schieffer are in the dark about what’s going on.
That’s why groups like CitizenLink, Focus’ public policy affiliate, are so important. CitizenLink regularly reports on what’s going on in the areas of law, government and education – and how what’s going on directly impacts your family. CitizenLink also helps concerned citizens make their voices heard by distilling the often-confusing maze of civic involvement into easy-to-do steps through its “get involved” section.
Another group worth following is the aforementioned Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian legal group representing the New Mexico photographers.
Please join me in praying for the Huguenin family, and for all those pouring themselves into this effort to defend our basic right to live in accord with our conscience and the Scriptures.