New Mexico Supreme Court: Wedding Photographer May Not Decline Business from Same-Sex Couple’s Commitment Ceremony

On August 22, the New Mexico Supreme Court handed down a noteworthy opinion in a case involving the First Amendment rights of business owners. In Elane Photography v. Willock, the court unanimously upheld a ruling against a small company, Elane Photography LLC, for declining to shoot a same-sex commitment ceremony due to the owners’ beliefs on marriage. Elane first argued that the public accommodations statute violated the company’s First Amendment rights protecting it from compelled speech. The New Mexico Supreme Court carefully examined the compelled speech defense and rejected it. Alliance Defending Freedom, which has represented Elane Photography throughout this litigation, appealed the compelled speech claim to the U.S. Supreme Court. ADF expects the Supreme Court to decide whether to grant review of the case or not in late March 2014.

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