Unlike federal law, which does not explicitly protect against discrimination targeting gay men and lesbians, New Mexico law forbids “any person in any public accommodation to make a distinction, directly or indirectly, in offering or refusing to offer its services” because of their sexual orientation.
Nevertheless, a New Mexico photography company refused to photograph a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony, claiming that it is immune to the law because its owners are Christian conservatives. Last week, a New Mexico appeals court rejected this claim, tossing out several arguments including the suggestion that the Constitution’s guarantee of religious liberty includes the power to simply ignore anti-discrimination laws:
A state implicates the free exercise clause when it places burdens upon religious practitioners because of their affiliation or beliefs. But “the right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes).”
To subscribe to this blog, use the rss feed on the right, or use the form at right to join our email list. You can also email us at email@example.com. Or find us on Facebook. We’re also tweeting daily at http://www.twitter.com/gaymarriagewatc.