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Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Old 01-27-10, 04:40 PM
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Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/content...226786f0011fd9

A New Mexico wedding photographer who refused on freedom of speech and religion grounds to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony in 2006 has lost her anti-discrimination appeal.

Photograph Elaine Huguenin was challenging a 2008 ruling by New Mexico's Human Rights Commission(NMHRC). Last month, a state court judge affirmed the commission's finding that Huguenin had violated New Mexico's Human Rights Act by discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

The case arose after Vanessa Willock of Albuquerque contacted Huguenin's business, Elane Photography, about photographing her commitment ceremony. Elaine Huguenin told Willock by e-mail "we do not photograph same-sex weddings," but gave no explanation.

The next day, Willock's partner, Misty Pascottini, asked Elane Photography via e-mail if the studio would photograph her wedding in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Pascottini didn't identify herself as Willock's partner. Huguenin responded that she would be willing to travel to photograph Pascottini's wedding, and sent her pricing information.
I'm not sure how I feel about this.

Suppose a same sex couple applies for an apartment and are turned down. They can use the court system to force the apartment company to lease them that apartment.

But in the case of a wedding photographer, the service being provided isn't really a commodity, but it's the creation of art. Would you want to hire an artist, knowing that their personal views might cause their work to suffer?

If the photographer said "I don't agree with same sex-marriages, I'll take your money and your photos, but I think you'd be better off hiring someone who completely supports same-sex marriages, because I can't guarantee that my art would be the same quality as it would for a heterosexual wedding," would that have been wrong, in the eyes of the law?
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Old 01-27-10, 04:41 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Why didn't she just say "We're booked up that day"? Covert discrimination FAIL.
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Old 01-27-10, 04:43 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

I thought this was a repost but I guess the appeal was just rejected? Weird timing. Just saw an article today saying eharmony settled another suit from gay plantiffs.
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Old 01-27-10, 04:46 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
Why didn't she just say "We're booked up that day"? Covert discrimination FAIL.
But the other partner called up immediately afterwords and wasn't discriminated against when the gay wedding part wasn't mentioned. So, this exchange probably would have happened:

"will you shoot my gay wedding on [whatever date]"
"sorry, I'm booked that day"

five minutes later, a call from another #...

"are you available for a photoshoot on [whatever date]
"sure!"


Is that really any different than just saying "no, I don't shoot gay weddings?"
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Old 01-27-10, 05:08 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Originally Posted by Venusian View Post
I thought this was a repost but I guess the appeal was just rejected? Weird timing. Just saw an article today saying eharmony settled another suit from gay plantiffs.
It looks like it was mentioned in a now locked same sex marriage thread, but this is back in the news because of the lost appeal. Feel free to merge with the new same sex marriage thread if it belongs there.
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Old 01-27-10, 05:10 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Wait, photographers are required to take any job asked of them?!?
This is insane
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Old 01-27-10, 05:12 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Originally Posted by Tommy Ceez View Post
Wait, photographers are required to take any job asked of them?!?
This is insane
No, but there are discrimination laws that state you cannot refuse certain things for discriminatory reasons. Since the reason they gave was discriminatory in nature, it is subject to those laws.

They could refuse to photograph an underwater wedding on the grounds that they do not shoot underwater weddings. But this is different as it discriminates against the couple based solely (according to their own description) on sexual orientation.
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Old 01-27-10, 05:25 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Originally Posted by Thor Simpson View Post
No, but there are discrimination laws that state you cannot refuse certain things for discriminatory reasons. Since the reason they gave was discriminatory in nature, it is subject to those laws.

They could refuse to photograph an underwater wedding on the grounds that they do not shoot underwater weddings. But this is different as it discriminates against the couple based solely (according to their own description) on sexual orientation.
But a photographer? Can you say you dont shoot weddings in justice of the peace's or dont shoot ugly people...I mean it is art
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Old 01-27-10, 05:29 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Originally Posted by Tommy Ceez View Post
But a photographer? Can you say you dont shoot weddings in justice of the peace's or dont shoot ugly people...I mean it is art
that's why I asked if it would be okay if the photographer said "I don't agree with same-sex marriages, so if you use my services, I can't guarantee that my work would be on par with what I'd do at a heterosexual wedding. I can refer you to another photographer that has no moral objections to your lifestyle" Not denying there services outright, but persuading them to find another photographer.

But if that's legit, then couldn't a restaurant owner say "I don't agree with same-sex couples, so if you eat at my restaurant, I can't guarantee that I won't spit in your food. I can think of another restaurant that would have no objections to your business."
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Old 01-27-10, 05:50 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

"Human Rights Act" - that's an interesting name for a law that restricts rights.
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Old 01-27-10, 05:54 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Gee, it's too bad the only photography studio in Albuquerque refused to photograph their wedding.

I wonder how many photographers they had to call before they found one they could sue.
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Old 01-27-10, 05:56 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Stupid.
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Old 01-27-10, 05:57 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
that's why I asked if it would be okay if the photographer said "I don't agree with same-sex marriages, so if you use my services, I can't guarantee that my work would be on par with what I'd do at a heterosexual wedding. I can refer you to another photographer that has no moral objections to your lifestyle" Not denying there services outright, but persuading them to find another photographer.
Because if the photographer does that, he's admitting that he's got a problem. By hiding behind free speech and religious grounds, it's the gay couple that has the problem.

Remember, the one thing people can't be is wrong.
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Old 01-27-10, 06:00 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Just advertise as "Specializing in Heterosexual Marriages" and people will get the point without you being outright discriminatory.
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Old 01-27-10, 06:07 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Originally Posted by Tommy Ceez View Post
But a photographer? Can you say you dont shoot weddings in justice of the peace's or dont shoot ugly people...I mean it is art
What's funny is that the photographer COULD say "I won't shoot this wedding because the bride is ugly," because beauty (or lack thereof) isn't a criteria for discrimination in the eyes of the law.

Last edited by Supermallet; 01-27-10 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 01-27-10, 06:29 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
What's funny is that the photographer COULD say "I won't shoot this wedding because the bridge is ugly," because beauty (or lack thereof) isn't a criteria for discrimination in the eyes of the law.

Or they could say that they were afraid of drowning or heights, since the wedding was to take place on a bridge.

I suppose now the only groups that can refuse to provide their services to anyone are religious organizations.
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Old 01-27-10, 06:30 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Whoops, corrected my error.
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Old 01-27-10, 06:36 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Meh, if the state has sexual orientation as a protected class, I don't have a problem with it. I have a problem with having protected classes, etc., but that's life.
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Old 01-27-10, 06:50 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Originally Posted by Red Dog View Post
"Human Rights Act" - that's an interesting name for a law that restricts rights.
It's called 'doublethink'.
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Old 01-27-10, 06:59 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

What if they said they only shoot weddings where the cake has a man and a woman figure on it, and the cake toppings match the gender of those getting married?

I don't think you can technically discriminate against a cake, and I don't think that requiring matching cake toppings to a wedding party is in the laws either.

I'm sure some liberal judge would make up a way to connect the dots and ruin the whole thing though.

Bottom line is, this is pretty clearly within discrimination laws as they stand.
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Old 01-27-10, 09:19 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

I'm all for gay marriage, but this is a bunk ruling.
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Old 01-27-10, 10:23 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

I'm sure we can look forward to a lot more of these.
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Old 01-27-10, 10:32 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Originally Posted by Thor Simpson View Post
What if they said they only shoot weddings where the cake has a man and a woman figure on it, and the cake toppings match the gender of those getting married?
You could probably get away with it if you said you only do weddings where you get to uhh, let's say, "break in" the bride before the wedding. But curiously, not if you say you don't do gay weddings.
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Old 01-27-10, 10:35 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Originally Posted by Rockmjd23 View Post
Stupid ruling but I don't have much sympathy for the photographer. She could have said thousands of different things to avoid this.
Oh, make that "break in" the groom then.
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Old 01-27-10, 10:39 PM
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Re: Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs

Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
But the other partner called up immediately afterwords and wasn't discriminated against when the gay wedding part wasn't mentioned. So, this exchange probably would have happened:

"will you shoot my gay wedding on [whatever date]"
"sorry, I'm booked that day"

five minutes later, a call from another #...

"are you available for a photoshoot on [whatever date]
"sure!"


Is that really any different than just saying "no, I don't shoot gay weddings?"
If someone told my fiancee they were busy on a particular date, I wouldn't call them back the next day and try to book the same date. If I was in the position of the people in the story, I probably would have called the photographer the next day.
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