Article: Everyday Heroes
Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, a twenty-something married couple, live in New Mexico and run a small photography business called ‘Elaine.’ So why is it that two young Christian photographers have been compared to people refusing services to African-Americans in the 1950s?
The trouble began when Elaine, rather cordially, refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. Shortly after, she received an e-mail from the New Mexico Human Rights commission telling her to find an attorney. One of the women involved in the civil ceremony, Vanessa Willock, had lodged a complaint against the young couple claiming they were discriminating against same-sex couples.
The Huguenins contacted the Alliance Defense Fund, an organisation set up to “to aggressively defend religious liberty by empowering [their] allies, recognizing that together, we can accomplish far more than we can alone.” ADF argue that it is a violation of the First Amendment to force Elaine to use her creative ability for something that goes against her conscience and told the Huguenins it would be bad stewardship of their company to back down or settle.
“If I’m being asked to tell the story of something that goes against my belief system,” explains Elaine, “there’s no way I can do that in good conscience.”
In a further twist, the Human Rights commission of New Mexico unanimously ruled against Elaine and her husband and requested they pay all of Willock’s legal costs and submit to requests by same-sex couples in the future. This created a media storm. The judgement is being appealed against and the jury is still out.
The question is raised, “What is freedom?”
Contact Alliance Defense Fund by calling (800) TELL-ADF (835-5233), faxing (480) 444-0025, writing 15100 N. 90th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85260, or logging on to www.alliancedefensefund.org
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