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The price of citizenship': State court says gay rights trump religious beliefs

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The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a photographer's refusal to service a gay wedding on religious grounds violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMHRA), a state law that "prohibits a public accommodation from refusing to offer its services to a person based on that person’s sexual orientation."

(Image: AFP/Getty)

Photographers Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin "are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish," Justice Richard C. Bosson noted in his concurring opinion. But despite potential personal objections to gay marriage, the owners of Elane Photography "must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others." This, Bosson says, is "the price of citizenship."

In the “world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different,” he writes. "A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation's strengths, demands no less."

The state court's ruling upheld a lower court's decision that the company’s refusal to photograph a lesbian wedding was an act of unlawful discrimination.  The photographers in this case were represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom.  "This decision is a blow to our client and every American's right to live free," the group's senior counsel said.

Click here to read the full ruling.

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