In New Mexico today the state Court of Appeals upheld decisions by the state’s Human Rights Commission and a district court and found that a photography business which refused to photograph a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony violated the state’s Human Rights Act, which declares that public accommodations like photo studios can’t discriminate on the basis of “race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex or sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical or mental handicap.” The court rejected the business’s claim that they are like a black photography company which wouldn’t want to photograph a Ku Klux Klan rally, pointing out that the “Ku Klux Klan is not a protected class. Sexual orientation, however, is protected.” The right-wing Alliance Defense Fund represented the couple and pledged to repeal the decision.
American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins said the case points to the danger of the “homosexual agenda.” “Folks, it’s coming to your town, the homosexual agenda, their social and political movement is coming to your town, you can’t avoid it,” Wildmon said:
AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer claimed that New Mexico “kicked out” the First Amendment, and said the further proof that homosexuality and freedom are incompatible:
I just cannot exaggerate the reality of what we face; we have got to come to grips with the fact that in America we are going to have to choose between homosexuality and religious liberty. You can just ask Elaine Huguenin, this Christian photographer in New Mexico, she is not even being allowed by the Court of Appeals in the state of New Mexico to make her own business decisions, to decide who she would like to do business with.
You can see right away the entire First Amendment has just been kicked out of New Mexico, the First Amendment is a worthless scrap of paper now in the state of New Mexico, no respect for freedom of religion, no respect for freedom of speech, no respect for freedom of association. That’s what’s at risk here, ladies and gentlemen, I am not exaggerating this: we have to choose as a nation, it’s either homosexuality or religious liberty, homosexuality or freedom of speech, homosexuality or freedom of association, we are going to have to choose.
Gary Bauer in an email to members of Campaign for Working Families lamented, “In New Mexico, the private bedroom behaviors of homosexuals trump religious freedom”:
For six years the Christian owners of a small photography business have fought the state of New Mexico for violating their religious liberty. At issue in this case was whether the owners would be forced to photograph a homosexual “marriage.” When the couple refused, New Mexico’s Civil Rights Commission accused them of discrimination and slapped them with a $7,000 fine. So the couple sued.
Last week, an appeals court upheld the Civil Rights Commission’s fine ruling that religious freedom could not be the basis for discriminating against “protected classes,” including homosexuals. According to one report, attorneys for the Christian couple asked the court to consider the example of a black photographer being asked to photograph a KKK rally. The judge was unmoved. In New Mexico, the private bedroom behaviors of homosexuals trump religious freedom.
My friends, I know the economy is front and center in this election, but the culture war is very real. This election will have tremendous consequences for the values we will pass on to our children and grandchildren. I cannot stress enough just how important it is for every conservative to vote this November.