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Photographer Fined $7,000 for Refusing to Photograph a Lesbian Wedding

Written by Gary North on June 6, 2012

What’s that? You say you have a moral objection to lesbians getting married? You say you don’t think it’s appropriate for you to participate in the wedding as a paid professional? Well though luck for you. Freedom of association is limited. Freedom to turn down an offer to accept a job is way too 90’s — 1890s.

That’s what three New Mexico judges said.

You see, the photographers are Christians. Freedom of association does not extend to them.

You say this is discriminatory? Well, I hope you don’t live in New Mexico.

Here is the problem. Discrimination is an inescapable concept in New Mexico. If a photographer discriminates against lesbians by refusing to photograph the event they call a wedding, because a photographer is a wedding photographer, and he does not beieve this is a wedding, then he gets fined.

On the other hand, if he is forced to shoot the wedding, then he gets discriminated against. His right of association is violated.

Here is the dilemma: laws against discrimination discriminate. This is not a sophist’s argument. It cost the photographers $7,000.

There is no neutrality in civil law. Someone has his toes stepped on. Someone is told, “You may not do that.”

The New Mexico Human Rights Commission imposed the penalty,, and the judges backed up the Commission.

I call this a sin of Commission.

You see, photography is a “public accommodation.”You know: like a hotel. It is illegal to refuse to accommodate someone in a public accommodation for reasons of race. It is also illegal to discriminate for reasons of“sexual orientation.” That’s what the court said.

The couple is being represented by Alliance Defense Fund, which says it will appeal the ruling.Without this, the defense would have cost the photographer tens of thousands of dollars. No — hundreds of thousands. This case has been in the courts since 2006.

Do you think this is unjust? Do you think this indicates that the legal system is morally corrupt. Well, you are entitled to your opinions. But you are getting dangerously close to a hate crime. You would be wise to keep your opinions to yourself.

But how does taking pictures get classified as public accommodations? Because getting your picture taken is classified as “an essential service” in New Mexico. As the judges ruled:

Services, facilities and accommodations are available to the general public through a variety of resources. Elane Photography takes advantage of these available resources to market to the public at large and invite them to solicit services offered by its photography business.

What if the lesbians had been KKK members and the photographers were black? The judges said this law would not apply. Why not? Because “The Ku Klux Klan is not a protected class.

My guess: if the lesbians had been neo-Nazis, and the photographers had been Jewish, this would also not have gone to court.

It’s different strokes for different folks, you see.

The judges continued: “The act of photographing a same-sex ceremony does not express any opinions regarding same-sex commitments, or disseminate a personal message about such ceremonies.” The judges are wring. This is exactly what it implies for a Christian.

Does a Christian typesetter have a legal obligation to work for an anti-Christian author? In New Mexico, it might.

But the judges called this “a neutral regulation of commercial conduct.” They said the law does not not “infringe upon freedom of speech or compel unwanted expression.” Yes, it does.

There is no neutrality.

This is the heart of the culture wars. There us no neutrality. There is a war for control over the 100% non-neutral courts, and the Left hides under the phony umbrella of neutrality.

Christians who buy into this phony philosophy are sitting ducks. They are sheep going to the slaughter.

Christian are slow learners. They are meek and mild. Most of them have bought into the myth of neutrality. But a few are beginning to figure out how the courts are rigged, staffed by their enemies.

Christians have the votes. They just don’t have a systematic worldview. They don’t have political commitment. So, they get pushed around. This is not going to stop until they mobilize politically.

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63 thoughts on “Photographer Fined $7,000 for Refusing to Photograph a Lesbian Wedding

  1. kodster says:

    EXACTLY! Last sentence says it all!

    This business has the right to refuse business, since there are other photographers available to do the job, just like a restaurant has the right to refuse to serve anyone. But perhaps there's more to the story, such as already having a contract with the lesbian couple, and then the photographer shows up to do the job, and realizes what is going on, and THEN refuses to do the job. That is where they would be in violation of a contractual agreement, and THAT would justify the ruling by the Commission and the appeal judicial panel. So, a little more detail, please?

  2. nazism

  3. Finding so many typos, in the age of a much matured spell-check world, is like finding a small hard-shelled bug in expensive liver patty, the first is startling, the second annoying, from then on it turns the stomach on and the mind off!

  4. Take the jobs and just shoot crappy pictures! That will teach them!

  5. Freedom Lost says:

    take photo's, TERRIBLE photo's and then charge them double your normal rate for hazardous conditions.

  6. sean murry says:

    Why do we have to cater to these sick minds they mentally ill.

  7. US Citizen says:

    From what I have read about this in the past…the photographers refused from the get go when they were informed it was to be a lesbian wedding. They refused long before the date of the event. Never said they would do it. I think the couple knew that would happen, asked the photographer, got the no and headed to the courts, even though they already had someone else lined up. But then again, that's just what I have read in the past. I think it was a total setup. But that is just my opinion.

  8. This kind of nonsense will continue until we get off the couch and into the formerly smoke-filled rooms of politics. This is our punishment for not getting involved with our local political parties and running for office, staying in for a term or two, then back to private life. Who else is going to have the guts to make the changes, to get back to our Constitution? Does anyone think that Professional Politicians will do anything other than pander for votes, which is how this sort of story is allowed to become reality?

  9. It's just the Jim Dove Laws at work.

    The phrase is "If you want peace, work for justice." However, the justice that Holder is looking for has more in common with the revenge sought by Islamic suicide bombers.

  10. What's the matter with this photographer, I would have "shot" them !

  11. Patriot1776 says:

    It is way past time to clean up the judiciary in this country. Judges are to make decisions based on the Constitution of the United States. They are not in their positions to change laws and bow to special interests. This action violates the Constitution's division of the three branches as surely as obama's executive orders and the alphabet departments regulations.

  12. No law says what kind of wedding you have or dont have to cover, If this was between a man and a woman would they even be talking about this, Nooo, Because a man and a woman is right and two women or two men is wrong, How hard is that to figure out.

  13. Taquoshi says:

    Then they would have a legitimate cause for a suit. This is the GLAD community claiming accommodation and forcing themselves on businesses. I don't think sexually orientation should be a protected class and this is a very strong reason why.

  14. Jean Luc Canard says:

    That would be liver paté, incidentally, not liver patty.

  15. Taquoshi says:

    Exactly my reading of the events. This wasn't about photographs, this was about forcing a business to accommodate them and it was political.

  16. Grumpy Old Man says:

    As Christians we are taught to turn the other cheek, be tolerant, forgive. But being fined for standing up for your moral beliefs in mt opinion is another attack on freedom of religion. The POTUS has no problem with that, being a god that he is. The DOJ is also run by criminals as well So perhaps it is time to organize the party that protects the rights of others to follow there morel beliefs and not be bullied by the minority. It is a shame the the political establishment black listed the one person that promised to do just that. Do you know lhis name? of course not the Dems and The Rupubs have all but erased him from the public arena and branded him a quack,

  17. The left can do all of the hate crimes they wish, even promote hate crimes by hate speach but you are not protected if you have moral and ethics. They claim that no one is hurt by allow these things to go on but then again you have to look at it rationally. If you have moral or ethics you have not freedoms,. nope not one.

  18. smogdew says:

    This is 'Mind Control' perpetrated by the demands of our sick Federal Government and it's ailing President. The photographer obviously has religious convictions on which his decision is based. Therein (should) lie his reasons. Muslims use the 'it's against our religion' to get away with/out of ANYTHING they chose. E.G. women having to remove their burkas to be photographed for drivers' licenses was used nationally unti Muslims became compliant with states' laws or could not drive.
    (I don't think in the mid 7th century Muhammad claimed women cannot remove their burkas to obtain drivers' licenses)..
    Of course, if you are Christian or Jewish in this country, you will, eventually, be denied just about every vestige of your religion.

  19. Ed Murrow says:

    When such behavior is in direct contradiction to a person's religious values, they should NOT be compelled to participate. This should be just as much a matter of religious belief as being a conscientious objector within the military.

    I remember well a personal example of a matter of conscience while working in a military hospital. A young woman, accompanied by her husband, came to our oncology unit, and a physician had ordered methotrexate for her. (Methotrexate is an anti-cancer drug, but has some off-label uses). The doc wanted a staffer to give her the methotrexate, ostensibly as an abortifacient (causes early abortion in 97-99% of pregancies). Most staffers refused, but, there was someone who did… there always is.

    The moral of the story is, America is losing its morals, and has been for some time. The article is just a blatant example of forcing people to accept the perverse and immoral behaviors of this pathetic group of people so they can be seen as normal.

  20. jammin2011 says:

    Should we start a fund and get him his $7k money back. Not fair. "FREE" enterprise.

  21. I am not sure, but is a same sex "wedding" classed as a "wedding" in New Mexico? If not they, as "wedding photographers" would no be obligated in any way to accept this job, even under the convoluted interpretation of these crazy juges ……………

  22. This sounds just lkike the story I read not to long ago , about a White man walking down the street in Washington 1 nite , when confronted by 5 or 6 black youths , he chose to continue walking , & They attacked him , & beat himn unmercilessly ! He took them to court , & the judge said , since he didn,t cross the street to avoid them , HE was the instigator ! Case was dismissed !

  23. What next, compulsory sodomy? These heterophobes really are very very nasty indeed and a revolution is required. Christians must get off their complacent backsides and realize that we are at war against the Principalities and Powers of the Air – it wasn't poetic language; it was a battle cry. Somewhere between 150-,000 and 250,000 Christian brothers and sisters are murdered, burned, beheaded, tortured, raped or executed EVERY YEAR and where is the Church in America? Debating homosexual "marriage". Pray that your country is not destroyed by the Lord, because the way it is going it will be.

  24. Charlie says:

    Intolerance begets intolerance….and the lack of tolerrance from the "protected classes" that scream for it the most is mind-blowing.

    The courts should be neutral. They should not be political test grounds. Many of the commissions, however, do usually have a political agenda of some kind, whether liberal or conservative, and when you get a judge with similar goals, whether liberal or conservative, bad rulings or affirmations of bad administrative law rulings, happen.

    Now….as was pointed out, correctly, if there was a signed contract and a failure to perform as agreed occurred, barring a LEGITMATE reason (death, a real illness, loss of equipment due to theft or fire, etc.,) then the photographer is at fault. Similarly, if the photographer deliberately sabotages the job, he can be sued for failure to perform, and that case would be indefensible professionally, legally, or really, morally, because you have essentially stolen from someone and defrauded them by knowingly or willingly not doing a job right.

    As was also pointed out, the photographer should have a right to refuse a job if it goes against his beliefs for whatever reason, so long as it done professionally and reasonably.

    We really need more information, but based on what I'm seeing, $7000 is roughly treble damages for failure to perform on a wedding contract, leading me to believe a contract was signed already, and performance did not occur. If that's the case, then there's a problem with our side.

    If this was pure punitive damages….there's a problem with their side, and a problem with society in general for failure to accept the beliefs and practices of others, so long as they do not interfere with the safety, health or welfare of others.

  25. Charlie says:

    Actually, these are typos that a spell-check wouldn't catch, for the most part because they are correctly-spell, but misused words. There is no replacement for good, old-fashioned proofreading.

  26. Wildman says:

    My wife and I own a small electrical contracting business. We have been in business for twenty eight plus years. Even in this economy, which is terrible, we have survived.

    Many times in the past, and even today, I may get a call, and have to refuse because I am busy. Did the photographer have another client already for the day of the wedding? I wonder? My wife and I pick who we want to work for. Since we are small we can do that. The main thing, how will we be paid. Will this other business, or indiviual pay their bill? We can not afford to work, and buy materials, then not be paid for what we have done. 90% of the time we submit a cost, for wht we will be doing, the scope of work is listed, with each item. , then we request a signature, printed name, before we start working. If it is Time and Materil, we are paid by the hour, then we present our lbor rate, and mark-up on all maerials, get a printed name, and signature of who authorizes the work, and the method of payment. We also look at heir credit rating if we do not know the company. Today to many companies are going broke.

  27. Is the photographer a self employed one or does he work for a company? If he is self employed, seems to me he can refuse anything he wants.

  28. This is just getting to be stupid. If these harlots belonging to the LBGT groupie set want public support, they need to cease and desist their bully tactics. I used to defend their right to their personal orientation but not any more. When they began abusing the laws and jamming their prurient interests down the public's throat, I decided enough is enough. Every ruling made that gives them preferential treatment and protectionism from the law should be declared null and void. A homosexual is still a male; a lesbian is still a female, period. And just because some of them want to dress in drag and act as though they are a member of the opposite sex doesn't change what they are. Accept your body and quit acting like you own the world–you don't. Quite frankly, I am so disgusted with the way these xxxx act, I hope a law is soon made that makes it ILLEGAL to be a proclaimed homosexual, lesbian, transgender, bisexual——-go back to your closets and stay there.

  29. Propertarian says:

    So you are saying the good Christian thing to do is get your gang together and force its will upon everybody else through the use of the ballot box backed up by a gun?

  30. catchesthewind says:

    Leave it to a frenchie to spell check fat liver.

  31. catchesthewnd says:

    Thats what I would have done.

  32. catchesthewnd says:

    They could have posted a sign in the store window—Fined $7,000.00 for NOT photographing homosexuals and PROUD OF IT.

  33. JudyG46 says:

    This is ludicrous, insane and just outright STUPID! As a private busines the photographer should have the right to turn down any 'paying' job for any reason he chooses. There are plenty of other photographers available to take wedding pictures and that so-called 'couple' could simply have chosen another photographer. It sounds like they set him up, just like the people who set up a baker a few years back; they didn't have to go to that baker, they could have gone anyplace else for what they wanted.

    A photographer and baker are NOT essential services…an electric or gas company are. Duh! Get these wacky judges off the bench; they're losing their minds…are completely illogical, unreasonable and obviously have no idea what an essential service is. How did they ever become judges???? Sheesh!!!

  34. How is it lesbians are a protected race/group of people? How is it the KKK is not also a protected race/group of people?
    How is it if Balcks kill Whites that is not a hate crime? How is it if Whites kill Blacks it is a hate crime? All this is confusing,
    how, is someone supposed to know ahead of time? This could get really interesting. IF I lived in NM and had a business that performed services the law damands I work for money for all people. As for myself I feel it really $uck$. As I would not want to work for a group or individual is my business as it is my company and not belonging to the civil government — Therefore, the ONLY law I would have to follow would be to pay my taxes and none other.

  35. They should have taken the job and 'accidentally' botched the job with blurred, out of focus pictures, poorly framed and darkly lit.

  36. SweetOlBob says:

    NO! To do so would damage the reputation of the photog. If he hadn't signed a contract, or taken any money as a deposit etc. he should have the right to refuse to serve anyone, for any reason. He is selling his personal services, which are matched by a large quantity of servers. It isn't like he's the only source for pictures. And it isn't like he is the only source for a needed product.

  37. Mjnellett says:

    The world mistakes Christian meekness for weakness……….bad mistake! Lesbians have a CHOSEN lifestyle which means they should not be a "protected class." Activist judges should not be allowed on the bench!

  38. Mike@99567 says:

    The subject of this posting is frustrating and one could say almost ridiculous, if it wasn't happening. As an aside, if we as conservatives are to be taken seriously…Mr. North, you really need to proofread your own spelling, it was painful.

  39. SweetOlBob says:

    I assume you mean photographically. But I would have to ask "OK, which one is the bride ? Could you blush a little, please ? " "No, never mind. I can airbrush it in. "

  40. Alan C Rohner says:

    That is a good idea but I don't think it would TEACH them.

  41. Alan C Rohner says:

    That's pretty sad…what are we teaching people?

  42. In our lawsuit and fine happy society this is just another BS way to score some money . Now that Barry Ohomo is out of the closet , liberal judges are going to fall all over themselves to get money for the courts and for the agreived .
    I really don't see what was the big beef for the couple , there are lots of other photographers out there that might have wanted the business gay wedding or not

  43. ProundPatriotToo says:

    First of all, is this unconstitutional (probably liberal, homo) judge and the these two circus freaks never considered to seek out another photographer. Really, really, are you kidding me? Not within, say 40 miles of this one photographer, there were no other photo shops? Don't you see folks. This is what you get when you let the freaks out of the closet. That photographer had, not only a constitutional right but a religious right to turn them down. Just direct them to another photo shop and escort them out of you place of establishment. Period. While living in France, the French had a saying about these creeps, they would hold out their arm and point to their index finger, and say" give them an inch and they will eat your arm off." The homo's, dikes, cross genders, etc, are part of the immoral leftist propaganda machine. If these two dikes had an ounce of self respect, they would have left and found another photo shop, period. $7K because two freaks had no self esteem. You can't fix stupid. The judge should be thrown off the bench. He did not uphold the Constitution.

  44. Erik Osbun says:

    A businessman can refuse any job on any grounds he wishes. That is his right.

  45. Doris Carman says:

    What difference do typos make.Staying on subject is what counts. Did you understand what was written? yes? then make a comment stating what you like or dislike.

  46. 1776Patriot says:

    Isn't that pretty much what the gay community is doing across america minus the gun. There is a gay story like this daily of them imposing their life style everywhere. Marvel and DC comics are both releasing gay charachters this month to expose the youth to it. Every TV show seems to have it's token gay now. I don't care if your gay why does it even have to come up. Do your job and go home. No one stops you from expressing yourself, it's the way your forcing it down our throats like obamacare was.

  47. Doris Carman says:

    Good plan but then they would go to court for their money back. Actually I feel any private business no matter how it serves the community has the right to refuse service to anyone. If this photography is listed as christian in ads then this couple probably planned this.Liberals, and gays, lesbians, transgender and the other whatever have to be noticed.

  48. PrincessPhilly says:

    The hate crime laws are a bunch of BS and against our constitutional rights to free speech. Name calling is not harming someone physically. It is my opinion of a person and the constitutional free speech allows me to call someone whatever my opinion of them is.

    Hate crime laws should be abolished. If someone does not like what I think of them they can walk away. Our whole country is becoming F$uc$$ BS.

  49. Bill McCroskey says:

    Some of the judicial rulings in this country are causing the USA to become more & more like a life like comic strip Bizzaro.

  50. Bob, I don't mean this in a mean spirit, but you know what happens when you assume don't you……I know you nor I would make an ass out of ourselves like this so-called Judge did!

  51. Hey! Just pass the cost of doing business on to the consumers. That would be about $3500 per partner. Let's see how they like it.

  52. icetrout says:

    Than sued the 2 MoonBats when they refused to pay 🙂

  53. icetrout says:

    “OK you Lizzies stop bumping those pussies in there!!!” :O

  54. Tom Barbarie says:

    Liver patty?

  55. No, they're using the gun too. If the law is involved, so is the gun. The law is the gun. That's the point Propertarian is making. Politics is the struggle for control of the gun. That's really all it is. It's like two cowboys in an old western fighting for control of a revolver. The winner shoots the loser, or at least forces him to submit. That's politics. Mao said it best: "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." What we're witnessing in D.C., in all our state capitals, and in every election local or national, is a struggle for control of that gun. Question, Dr. North: is this the business we Christians ought to be engaged in? (re your last paragraph) And a comment: We Christians are in a lose-lose position. If we do succeed in gaining control of the gun, and imposing our view upon our unwilling opponents, we've lost our testimony. We've become just like them. Our salt has lost its saltiness. On the other hand, if we don't…

  56. Let me rephrase my "unwilling opponents" comment: I should have said, "upon an unwilling world". Our opponents are not human beings, but are the demonic entities which really control this world's system. "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Eph. 6:12

  57. Christopher says:

    He got sued for failure to complete start date. It's a standard clause in any contract and can provide penalty for a contractor not starting on the day specified. Maybe he should have thought of these objections before promising a start date on a contract. He had no right to not complete the photo-shoot to the best of his ability. A wedding photographer completely blind to the phrase "same sex marriage" is a moron.

  58. Christopher says:

    Free enterprise? He should have thought about his possible objections to his job before committing to the job. He should have it in his contract that "same sex marriage" is not go. That's his choice but in not protecting himself he left the burden on them. A little to late.

  59. Alfredo says:

    Remember Jesus said that Christians would be persecuted like he was before the end of times. This is only the beginning.

  60. A restaraunt cannot refuse service to someone based on race or any other reason. You are totally wrong, it is discrimination.

  61. Getting their money back would probably be less than the fine of $7,000.00. Actually if company offered the money back because of a bad job and they refused to take the money they probably would not have been able to file a law suite. the company should have given the money back and ended it.

  62. General Bull Krapper says:

    Whatever happened to "We reserve the right to refuse service to you"? (Also name of a song by the great Kinky Friedman) — VOTE FOR AMERICA & TURN NOVEMBER INTO NO-BAMA — Stay Well, Safe & Free

  63. Does anyone know if this photographer has a defense fund website. I would love to give. If you know how to contact them or the website, please let me know at gwedem5995@aol.com