Ben Johnson


Backlash mounts against the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear Christian photographers’ appeal

Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 8, 2014 ( – By refusing to hear an appeal, the Supreme Court let stand a New Mexico court ruling that states business owners must participate in same-sex "wedding" or commitment ceremonies, even if doing so violates their faith.

The reaction from concerned observers continues to pour in.

The high court refused to hear Elane Photography v. Willock, in which the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that Christian photographers Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin were wrong to decline photographing the 2007 commitment ceremony of lesbian couple Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins called the dismissal “a gross violation of the First Amendment.”

“Our nation's long tradition of respecting conscience is likely why 85 percent of Americans, according to a Rasmussen poll, support the right of photographers to decline participation in a same-sex wedding ceremony,” he said.

“At issue is the fundamental question of whether the state can pretend to be a god over the conscience,” said Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

“At issue is whether these persons will be forced by the coercive power of the state to participate in something they believe to be sinful. The audacity of the New Mexico Supreme Court in saying that the crucifixion of conscience is the price of citizenship is breathtaking,” he said.

Such a ruling “is damaging not only to the conscience rights of Christians, but to all citizens. When we decide, as a country, that state power trumps the rights of conscience, we are treading on self-evident, inalienable rights, granted not by government but by God.”

Societal trends call into question whether anyone who disagrees with redefining marriage will be able to express that opinion in a viable manner, according to Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America (CWA). “Just as we saw recently with Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, this case highlights the hypocrisy of the 'equality' movement. They are all for freedom of speech, until they disagree with your speech,” she said.

Rod Dreher of The American Conservative said these developments disprove same-sex “marriage” advocates' claims that redefining marriage does not hurt anyone. “Well, now we see that if you are a Christian wedding photographer who cannot as a matter of conscience photograph a gay wedding, you cannot practice your vocation in New Mexico. As we’re seeing over and over again, that is not true, and never was true.”

Something Dreher calls “the Law of Merited Impossibility — Nothing bad will happen to you gay marriage opponents, and when it does, you will deserve it — is vindicated daily.”

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Scott Shackford at Reason magazine believes, “The refusal to consider the case may bolster efforts by some states to craft their own versions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which would require the government to prove it had a compelling reason to force a person to act against his or her religious beliefs or suppress the right of a person to express his or her religious beliefs.”

The state of Mississippi recently passed such a bill. Gov. Phil Bryant, an outspoken pro-life Republican, is poised to sign a bill identical to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed.

Perkins seemed to agree such bills were the next step to protect the freedom of conscience.

"The burden to protect the inalienable rights that are the cornerstone of our political success as a nation now falls to state and federal legislators,” he said. “Americans cannot afford to be silent any longer to this affront to our First Freedoms.”

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