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The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Thursday that two Christian photographers who declined to photograph a same-sex union violated the state’s Human Rights Act. One justice said the photographers were “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.”

In 2006 Vanessa Willock asked Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, owners of Elane Photography, to photograph a same-sex “commitment ceremony” in the town of Taos.

Huguenin and her husband declined the job because their Christian beliefs were in conflict with the message communicated by the ceremony.

Willock found another photographer at a cheaper price but nevertheless filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission accusing Elane Photography of discrimination based on sexual orientation. She was later found guilty and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines.

“The Huguenins today can no more turn away customers on the basis of their sexual orientation – photographing a same-sex marriage ceremony – than they could refuse to photograph African-Americans or Muslims,” Justice Richard Bosson wrote in the court’s unanimous decision.

Bosson said the Christian photographers are now “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.”

“Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering,” he wrote. “It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views.”

A recent Rasmussen survey found that 85 percent of Americans support the right of a photographer to refuse participating in a same-sex wedding.

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