FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 22, 2013
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Jen Campbell (703-683-5004)
"This decision is outrageous. While simultaneously admitting that this decision will harm the Huguenins, the court uses its full power of coercion to force them to compromise their beliefs." — Brian Brown, NOM president —
Washington, D.C. — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today denounced the decision of the New Mexico Supreme Court to force Christian photographers to violate their beliefs by photographing a same-sex commitment ceremony or be sanctioned by the State. The ruling in Elane Photography v. Willock flies in the face of all Americans' First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.
"This decision is outrageous. While simultaneously admitting that this decision will harm the Huguenins, the court uses its full power of coercion to force them to compromise their beliefs," declared Brian Brown, NOM president. "This is not what this country was founded upon; governmental coercion has no place in the public square never mind the freedom of religion supposedly enjoyed by the Huguenins."
NOM and scholars on both sides of the issue have long agreed that redefining marriage will be a direct threat to Americans' First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. Increasingly, gay-'marriage' activists are using the courts to force people of faith to violate their beliefs when a myriad of other options exist for the same-sex couples in question.
"While the court calls for compromise, they got it wrong in this case," continued Brown. "The Huguenins should not have to compromise. Their beliefs are constitutionally protected. But the Willocks could easily have compromised by going to another photographer who would not have had such a conflict. Instead the Willocks forced the issue and used the power of the court to put the Huguenins in an impossible position - compromise their beliefs or give up their livelihood. There is nothing just about that."
The courts forcing people of faith into impossible positions is a growing trend. Like the Huguenins in New Mexico, Bed and Breakfast owners Mary and Jim O'Reilly in Vermont lost a similar case in 2012. As a result, the O'Reillys were fined $30,000 and ordered to stop hosting all wedding activities. Similarly in Washington State, Christian-owned Arlene's Flowers has been sued by the state for declining to serve a same-sex 'marriage' ceremony.
"People of faith should not be coerced to denying their beliefs or losing their livelihoods," concluded Brown. "There are plenty of photographers, bed and breakfast owners, or florists who would happily serve same-sex ceremonies. However, same-sex 'marriage' activists are not concerned with getting service, but instead forcing Americans of faith to compromise their beliefs and support something they know is objectively wrong."
A recent Rasmussen poll on this issue demonstrates that 85% of Americans believe that if "a Christian wedding photographer who has deeply held religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage is asked to work a same-sex wedding ceremony" they have the right to say 'no.' Only 8% believe the photographer should be forced to serve the couple.
To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray (x130), [email protected], or Jen Campbell (x145), [email protected], at 703-683-5004.
Paid for by The National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. New § 68A.405(1)(f) & (h).