Southern Baptists and other people of faith in New Mexico have been told by their state Supreme Court that the price of U.S. citizenship is to subordinate their faith to the homosexual agenda. This appears to be the first ruling of its kind by a Supreme Court. So it merits our attention.
The case involved Elaine and Jon Huguenin, co-owners of Elane Photography of Albuquerque, who were asked by two lesbians in 2006 to photograph their “commitment ceremony” (homosexual “marriage” is not legal in New Mexico). Elaine Huguenin declined their request because the company photographs only traditional weddings. If either woman was willing to marry a man, they would gladly take their photographs. They said they would do portrait of each if they wanted; just not a “wedding.”
The lesbians’ vindictiveness seems evident. After the Huguenins turned them down, they went to a competitor and got their pictures taken. But that was not sufficient so the lesbians filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, claiming discrimination. The commission agreed and ordered the company to pay $6,637.94 in attorney fees. The state court of appeals upheld the commission’s ruling on May 31, 2012, setting the stage for the New Mexico Supreme Court.
The Huguenins argued they did not discriminate, but did not want to convey — through pictures — the story of an event celebrating an understanding of marriage that conflicted with their beliefs. They said they would have declined the request “even if the ceremony was part of a movie and the actors playing the same-sex couple were heterosexual,” adding they would not photograph homosexual actions – period.
The New Mexico Supremes rejected their argument, stating there was no distinction between homosexual acts and homosexual people. As long as the business does weddings, it must do all kinds. The court went on to say the Huguenins chose to do business in New Mexico, thus they had to obey New Mexico’s rules. They said the Huguenins could avoid trouble by not photographing weddings. Of course that would cripple their business.
The chilling concurring opinion by Justice Richard C. Bosson deserves special attention: “At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less.”
In other words all faiths must be subordinate to Bosson’s religion of rank secularism and, in this case, to the homosexual agenda. Bosson’s twisted legal reasoning builds off the controversial statements of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who said Americans were guaranteed “freedom of worship,” which is a subtle way of telling Christians to keep our faith within our church walls. This is a far cry from “freedom of religion,” which allows free exercise of one’s faith in every aspect of one’s life, including how a person runs their business. Bosson’s legal reasoning is far removed from the Founding Fathers and is yet another example of judicial activism run amok, if not judicial tyranny that mocks the First Amendment.
The New Mexico case sends a foreboding message to Christian businesses and institutions. Homosexual marriage and religious freedom are incompatible. Only one will prevail and in New Mexico, it’s homosexuality. A similar lawsuit has been filed with the Iowa Human Rights Commission by homosexuals against Dick and Betty Odgaard who run The Gortz Haus Gallery, a popular spot for wedding ceremonies in Grimes, Iowa. Some legal observers believe it is only a matter of time before homosexuals sue churches who allow their facilities to be used for weddings.
New Mexico is among 21 states and the District of Columbia that have laws protecting individuals from being discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation. Missouri is among 29 states that have no such law, though homosexuals are pushing the Missouri General Assembly for such special treatment. Such a law in Missouri would put institutions like Hannibal-LaGrange University, Southwest Baptist University, the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in danger of being sued by homosexuals. It would certainly endanger the First Amendment rights of Christian business owners.
The New Mexico Supreme Court ruling is on the wrong side of public opinion, too. A recent Rasmussen Poll showed 85 percent of Americans believe business owners should be able to opt out of participating in a homosexual “marriage.” The New Mexico ruling is coercive progressive politics gone wild. It is one-sided tolerance. It forces Christians to keep one’s faith within church walls – or else. Just ask the Huguenins.