New Mexico Photography Company…
Please understand that what is meant in this writing is both of a personal perspective as well as a professional one.
Through the next several days we will be posting a series of articles that we feel we are duty bound to do. In fact, for the greater sense of survival and civility in the United States we also feel that it is only fair to bring in two other extremely important factors: Illegal immigration and Medical costs by taxpayers. We’ll start with asking a simple question:
Since when does a state constitution ever trump the U.S. Constitution? Our other question is when does the “alleged discriminatory” concerns trump those guaranteed rights that are protected under the U.S. Constitution? NEVER!
I ran into a blog last night and all I could think to do was first, plug the blog and her writing, and perhaps if appropriate, quote her. At any rate share this with us and you make your decision.
The blog is called Prometheus Unbound and is easily found by clicking on the link or searching for it. The author’s name is Santi Tafarella and here is how she started:
I am a strong supporter of gay marriage, but I think that the below story is an outrageous violation, by authorities in New Mexico, of conscientious religious objection.
Most of you who frequent this site, The Thinker know what passion we hold for Jon and Elaine Huguenin and the miserable load they’ve been carrying around simply because their guaranteed rights to protection, equal rights, and religious liberties have all but been badly violated. Therefore, we found Ms. Tafarella’s article quite inspiring.
A professional photographer who refused to take pictures of a gay couple’s commitment ceremony because of her religious beliefs violated New Mexico discrimination law, a human rights panel ruled. Vanessa Willock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission in 2006, contending that Albuquerque photographer Elaine Huguenin told her she photographed only traditional marriages. Huguenin and her husband, Jon, own Elane Photography.
And the commission’s reasoning for its ruling? Again, according to AP:
The commission viewed Huguenin’s business as a public accommodation, similar to a restaurant or a store.
A lower court has sided with the commission, generating an appeals process. I hope, as a gay marriage supporter, that this commission’s infringement on the conscience of a photographer is quickly overturned. It is not good for the gay rights movement to be seen as forcing religious people to participate in gay gatherings or civil union ceremonies, and it is not good for civil liberties and the protection of conscience.
The right to non-participation and conscientious objection must be vigilantly safeguarded in a free society. It is one thing to tell religious people that they must not interfere with the freedoms and equal treatment of gay people under the law, but it is another thing entirely to force religious people to associate themselves with activities or functions that they regard as morally objectionable. Hopefully the State would never step in and require religious photographers to participate in a pornography convention or an atheist convention against their will, and so the State should likewise not be forcing photographers to participate in gay gatherings against their will. (Simply brilliant!)
Even until today — to this end — I couldn’t fathom what about the Willock v. Huguenin case before the New Mexico Human Rights Commission was tearing at me with the talons of demons. Quick brush up: This little excerpt is from the Associated Press:
This account looks all neat and tidy — all of the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed; however, this is not nearly the true account of what really happened.
We will be pulling our ‘over preponderance’ of the evidence that the NMHRC made an improper decision. Furthermore, we believe that we can prove with the same evidence, that this act was brought intentionally for the pain and suffering of the Defendant(s), Elaine and Jon Huguenin.
For the Record: As a matter of material fact, Elaine Huguenin (Elane’s Photography) never refused to do anything. The court record clearly shows that Ms. Vanessa Willock, by email, on September 21, 2006 contacted Elane’s Photography requesting pricing information: Here is from the court transcript:
Ms. Willock’s Inquiry: We are researching potential photographers for our commitment ceremony on September 15, 2007 in Taos, NM. This is a same-gender ceremony. If you are open to helping us celebrate our day we’d like to receive pricing information. Thanks
What immediately stuck out to me and to everyone whose seen it since, is in the wording, “If you are open to helping us…” and of course there is no signature. What if Mrs. Huguenin stated she wasn’t open? It is critical to look at the date of the request! (September 21, 2006)
September 21, 2006 Elaine Huguenin responded in a clearly professional manner, on time, gentle and specifying the work of Elane’s Photography:
Hello Vanessa, As a company, we photograph traditional weddings, engagements, seniors, and several other things such as political photographs and singer’s portfolios. -Elaine-
We have no problem with that response at all. It is courteous, informative, and above all, meets every specification pursuant to New Mexico law.
On November 28, 2006, a full sixty-two days after receiving this response Ms. Vanessa Willock again, by email sought more clarification. This is Ms. Willock’s follow-on question:
…I’m a bit confused, however, by the wording of your response. Are you saying that your company does not offer your photography services to same-sex couples?….Vanessa
In our humble opinion this is precisely where the collisional entrapment begins vis-a-vie Elaine Huguenin inasmuch as she did not say that. More importantly is the fact that if she had stated it, she would have been breaking the law and discriminating against Ms.Willock.
This unfortunate saga gets way, way better: Ms. Elaine Huguenin’s Follow-on Response: Same day – November 28, 2006
…. Yes, you are correct in saying we do not photograph same-sex weddings, but again, thanks for checking out our site!
Clearly the original declaration was made by Ms. Willock and not Elaine Huguenin. Clearly Elaine Huguenin is doing nothing more than affirming what Ms. Willock had stated.
Sorry folks but at this time we started smelling rats on deck! A manipulation of a couple of words, and of course the suggestion, “…are you saying…” coupled with a overly long period of time for contacting the photographer (this is important in the ruling!) helped us be quite uneasy.
And just one more little nugget to get you back here tomorrow for further skullduggery!
On November 29, 2006, Ms. Willock’s partner, Ms. Collinsworth, officially known as Ms. Pascottini, sought to verify Ms. Elaine Huguenin’s refusal to photograph a same-sex ceremony by making a similar email inquiry about packages and rates to photograph a wedding, without any mention of same-sex. Ms. Collinsworth sent the following email to Elane’s Photography:
Sorry folks too long as it is…tomorrow we’ll see how the scheming continues.
As I have stated this case in New Mexico has been tearing my flesh like a Phoenix, rising from its ashes and using its smoldering hot long talons to fillet me. I’m not exactly sure what it is within the case itself that bothers me more — the unsubstantiated claim made by the Plaintiff — or if it is the skullduggery that is going on behind the scenes that simply gets my goat. (That is all too obvious!)
Picking up where we left off yesterday as promised, on November 29, 2006, Ms. Willock’s partner, Ms. Collinsworth, officially known then as Ms. Pascottini, sought to verify Ms. Elaine Huguenin’s refusal to photograph a same-sex ceremony by making a similar email inquiry about packages and rates to photograph a wedding, without any mention of same-sex ceremony, union, or orientation. Ms. Collinsworth sent the following email to Elane’s Photography:
I really like your photographs. I was wondering if you would be willing to travel to Ruidoso for my wedding? Can you send me a list of your packages and rates?
Maybe it’s me, although I don’t think so. Where is the verification of Elaine Huguenin’s refusal to photograph a same-sex ceremony? As far as we can see there is not a request, nor is there any verification whatsoever of an alleged ‘refusal’ bias or discrimination verification.
If you will — what is similar about the requests (1) Willock’s and (2) Collinsworth’s? Both request for pricing information and whether or not Elaine would be willing to travel to either Ruidoso or Taos, New Mexico.
On November 29, 2006 Ms. Elaine Huguenin responded affirmatively by email to Ms. Collinsworth’s inquiry and, at the same time, forwarded Ms. Collinsworth information about the company’s photography pricing (base package, $1,450; deluxe package, $1,850; and royal package, $2,250) as well as information about the company’s procedure for online proofing credits. The text of Ms. Elaine Huguenin’s response to Ms. Collinsworth’s inquiry was as follows:
Thanks so much for contacting us. I would definitely [sic] be willing to travel to Ruidoso for your wedding. I have attached some information that should be helpful as far as prices and packages. There is also another attachment concerning “print credits” – it explains what online proofing is, because it’s something that is a bit newer and not everyone may know what it is yet. Hopefully these items will help you sort some things out. Also, I would love to meet up with you sometime, if you are interested, to show you more of my recent book, along with an example of the “coffee table book” that included in all of our packages. My place of choice is Satellite…
Good luck with your planning, and I hope to talk with you soon! -Elaine
Please correct me if I am wrong here; however, the email written by Ms. Collinsworth a.k.a. Ms. Pascottini to Elane Photography is a request for pricing information and whether or not Elaine could travel to Ruidoso, NM for Ms. Pascottini’s wedding. (See ‘Hi Elaine’ above.)
On December 19, 2006 having not heard again from Ms. Collinsworth (then known as Misty Pascottini), Ms. Elaine Huguenin sent the following email to Ms. Collinsworth:
I just wanted to check and see if you had any questions about the prices or packages that I could help answer. I hope that planning is going well for you. Have a great day!
After receiving Ms. Elaine Huguenin’s response to her inquiry on November 28,2006 and learning of Ms. Elaine Huguenin’s different response to a similar inquiry by Ms. Collinsworth, without the mention of same-sex, Ms. Willock remained fearful and anxious about seeking other photographers to photograph their same-sex commitment ceremony.
We feel that this portion of the record clearly demonstrates collusion, fraud, as well as an attempt to entrap Elaine Huguenin. We ask: how were the responses different? The plaintiff, Willock, schemes and plans with a friend to intentionally defraud Huguenin. We further believe that Huguenin was being set-up insofar as the original requests were not that similar; furthermore, we maintain our position that it was ‘Willock’ who brought the issue of same-gender weddings up in the first place.
Other than “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone…” is there a place in either the EEO, or the Civil Rights Acts, or otherwise that stipulates that an independent contractor or business somehow either in writing, posting, or electronic recording obligated to tell potential customers their religious beliefs, furthermore, their sexual ‘orientation’?
The answer quite simply is NO! In doing so that would be clearly discriminatory. In fact in New Mexico, sexual orientation is defined as being heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. Tomorrow we will examine — in detail — the ‘Tribunal’s’ decision and what, if anything, it was based on.
The judges wrote that the photography company’s claim of protection under the state constitution’s requirement that “no person shall ever be molested or denied any civil or political right or privilege on account of his religious opinion” was not applicable. (Oh that’s rich….why not?)
The judges suggested the interesting scenario of the photographer accepting the job, and vocally condemning the women while taking pictures. Although this is clearly a hypothetical, it is apparent that the judges are legislating from the bench.
“The owners are free to express their religious beliefs and tell Willock or anyone else what they think about same-sex relationships and same-sex ceremonies,” they said. Furthermore, we believe this to be an absolute mockery! Sue the photography company for sexual orientation and then advise the same to confront the lesbians?
“Once one offers a service publicly, they must do so without impermissible exception,” the judge wrote. “Therefore, plaintiff could refuse to photograph animals or even small children, just as an architect could design only commercial buildings and not private residences. Neither animals, nor small children, nor private residences are protected classes,” he wrote.
When the district judge’s decision arrived, it seemed to substantiate the concerns of opponents of a federal “hate crimes” bill signed into law by President Obama during his first year in office that gives homosexuals special rights. Attorney General Eric Holder admitted in a congressional hearing that under the measure an attack on a homosexual would be dealt with differently than one on another citizen.
Benjamin Bull, chief counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, noted at that time, “Homosexuals got exactly what they wanted. In the marketplace of ideas, one side has now been censored. This [situation] is exactly what homosexual activists have in mind.”
Interestingly, a subsequent poll revealed that almost half of Americans believe that Christians in the United Statesare being persecuted by homosexual “marriage” advocates who take legal action against them over their religious beliefs, and almost one in three Democrats believes such persecution is “necessary,” according to the alarming results of a new poll.
The results are from a poll conducted for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
It found that 49.2 percent of all respondents consider the legal activism against Christians and their beliefs regarding homosexuality to be “persecution.”
The question was, “There is a trend developing in which gay activists are filing lawsuits against people who refuse to do business with them on moral/religious grounds – such as when a New Mexico photographer was sued by a lesbian couple for refusing to photograph their wedding. Knowing this, which of the following statements most closely represents what you think about this?”
More than two of three Republicans called it “persecution of Christians,” along with 45 percent of independents. Even 33.1 percent of Democrats had the same answer.