N.M. High Court: Photo Studio Showed Illegal Bias Against Lesbian Couple

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com August 23 2013 3:57 PM ET

A New Mexico photography business violated the state’s Human Rights Act by refusing service to a same-sex couple for their commitment ceremony, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

In a decision issued Thursday, the court found that Elane Photography, based in Albuquerque, violated the antidiscrimination law “in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of two different races.” The studio had turned down a request to photograph the commitment ceremony of Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth, the Santa Fe Reporter notes, with co-owner Elaine Huguenin saying the job would go against her Christian faith and the studio handles only “traditional weddings.”

The court ruled that since Elane Photography is a business that markets to the general public, it is subject to the public accommodations provision of the law. “If Elane Photography took photographs on its own time and sold them at a gallery, or if it was hired by certain clients but did not offer its services to the general public, the law would not apply to Elane Photography’s choice of whom to photograph or not,” the decision reads.

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