Christian Photographers Must Compromise Beliefs in Same-Sex Marriage

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Christian Photographers Must Compromise Beliefs in Same-Sex Marriage

This is definitely something worth reading and being aware of. It impacts us all. And hang on, because this has religion and politics all rolled into one.

Just a few months ago the New Mexico courts ruled against a local photographer for turning down a Same-Sex wedding.

In 2006 Vanessa WIllock asked Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin to document a same-sex “commitment ceremony” and the Huguenins turn down the job because of their Christian beliefs. They felt it was in conflict with the message of the ceremony.

Willock eventually found another photographer to document their day, but filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission accusing Elaine and Jonathan of discrimination based on sexual orientation. They were found guilty by a unanimous decision and ordered to pay thousands in fines

This is real life everyone not some fictitious story. No matter where you live, no matter what kind of portrait or wedding photography you offer, you have to understand how this can impact you and your business.

Here is what the court ruled. According to Justice Richard Bosson, “The Huguenins today can no more turn away customers on the basis of their sexual orientation – photographing a same-sex marriage ceremony – than they could refuse to photograph African-Americans or Muslims.”

The court has ruled and has truly set precedence here. In addition, the couple lost several rounds of appeals because the state’s law forbids “public accommodations” from discriminating on the basis of orientation.

However, according to a Rasmussen study 85% of American adults believe that photographers have the right to say no.

This is such an interesting topic for me. Why? Because it has the ability to impact every one of us and our businesses. I can honestly say, I try to almost never mix business and religion and politics together. I truly could care less. If two people love each other, they love each other. Within the last year or so, we have photographed President Obama – for the record I am neither Republican nor Democrat – as a business owner, I am more of a moderate (just in case you cared) and we have photographed a same-sex marriage – and as an Italian American I am a Catholic (again, just in case you cared).

Personally, I think that when you start your own business you have to understand, you can not pick and chose your clients based on race, color, sex, handicap, religion, etc. This to me is business 101, but I think to many photographers it might not be.

In one sense, I do applaud the Huguenins for standing up for what they believe in, however, in another, I am appalled at the discrimination exhibited by them.  The world is filled with people who don’t see eye to eye with my religious, political or life views, I can’t imagine alienating them as clients. I would be out of business.

Now, I will say, I am also surprised that a case was filed by Willock. I get it. They were denied service and that’s not ok, but would you really want someone participating in your day that just doesn’t believe in the very marriage you are asking them to document? Especially a photographer.

So, here is the question, does free exercise of religion extend to how you run your business? What are your thoughts?

READ THE SUPREME COURT DECISION AND NOTES – Christian Photographers Must Compromise Beliefs in Same-Sex Marriage

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Christian Photographers Must Compromise Beliefs in Same-Sex Marriage

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