Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - In a victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court on Monday turned down an appeal from a photographer who claimed a constitutional right to refuse to shoot a wedding album for a lesbian couple.
The photographer, Elaine Huguenin, was charged with violating New Mexico's antidiscrimination law, which requires businesses to serve customers and clients without regard to their race, religion or sexual orientation.
The case had drawn wide attention because it posed a religious-freedom challenge to state antidiscrimination laws. It was credited with spurring campaigns in Arizona and Mississippi to strengthen the religious-freedom rights of business owners.
Huguenin said she took photos of "traditional" weddings but that it would violate her religious beliefs to shoot photos of a wedding of two women.
The state human rights commission found that Huguenin violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act, and the state supreme court upheld the decision.
The Supreme Court's refusal to hear the appeal is not a ruling, but it is significant that the appeal did not attract the four votes needed to grant a hearing.
Last month, the court heard arguments in a somewhat related issue over whether family-owned corporations have a religious-liberty right to refuse to pay for the full range of contraceptives required under the federal health care law.