Court forces private photographers to photograph gay weddings

Published On: Monday December 17, 6:00 AM
By: John Roberts
A professional photographer who refused to take pictures of the engagement ceremony of a gay couple violated state laws against discrimination, the Court of Appeals of New Mexico, has ruled.

The court agreed  with a previous judgment, in which a district judge said the photo studio is considered public, similar to a restaurant or store, and you cannot refuse service on grounds of sexual orientation.

The photography studio had argued that his refusal was not an

act of discrimination, but a reflection of the owner’s religious and moral beliefs.

Vanessa Willock asked the studio, Elane Photography, in 2006 about taking photographs of a same-sex ceremony, but was told that only handle traditional weddings. As her partner contacted the studio without revealing their sexual orientation, she was given a price list and sent a follow-up email.

Willock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, which ruled that Elane Photography violated the state Human Rights Act and was ordered to pay nearly $7,000 in legal fees. A district court later upheld the decision of the commission.