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FRC Sez: Photographers' Rights Disappear in a Flash

It's as clear as black and white, isn't it?

FRC Sez: Photographers' Rights Disappear in a Flash

JESUSLAND—We've been fans of the Family Research Council (FRC) for a long time—"fans" in the sense that it's fun reading how pretty much everything they say is wrong. But the mini-screed that showed up in today's email made us sit up and take notice... as a perfect vehicle for parody:

"These days, Elane Photography is more concerned about how its legal case is developing than its pictures. For four years, the Albuquerque shop has been battling the state's Human Rights Commission (HRC) for trying to stamp out the business's religious rights. Back in 2008, an interracial couple tried to hire the husband and wife team to shoot their wedding, but Elaine and Jon politely declined. They told the clients that participating in the ceremony would conflict with their moral beliefs on marriage. Although the couple ultimately found another photographer, the couple filed a complaint with the New Mexico HRC to make Jon and Elaine pay.

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"They succeeded. In a setting that more resembled a Third-World tribunal, the commission charged Elane Photography with 'racial discrimination' and ordered the couple to pay $6,637.94 in attorneys' fees to the interracial couple who launched the suit. Together with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), the Christians appealed. After all, New Mexico doesn't recognize interracial "marriage"—and even if it did, there would still be no legal basis for trampling the owners' conscience rights. As a private company, Elane Photography has the freedom to establish their own criteria of who they will serve and why.

"Unfortunately, the courts don't seem to agree. In 2009, a trial judge sided with the HRC's finding, setting up a second round of legal challenges. Yesterday, the New Mexico Court of Appeals also upheld the Commission's decision on the grounds of the state's Human Rights Act. To ADF attorney Jordan Lorence, the rulings have both shown a stunning disregard of the Huguenins' First Amendment rights. They intend to appeal the case to the New Mexico Supreme Court—and beyond, if necessary.

"'Should the government force a videographer who is an animal rights activist to create a video promoting hunting and taxidermy?' Jordan asked? 'Of course not, and neither should the government force this photographer to promote a message that violates her conscience.' Obviously, the courts are viewing the case of Elane Photography through the lens of political correctness—not the Constitution, which, as Jordan points out, "protects people's expression of their views, even when it comes in a commercial context. Business owners do not surrender their constitutionally protected rights at the marketplace gate."

Unfortunately, this is just a snapshot of what's happening around the country in business, sports, Hollywood and schools. Human rights activists are absolutely determined to punish people who refuse to embrace and celebrate their lifestyle choices. Isn't that what the Obama administration has done with its mandate on contraception and abortion pills? If the Left can't crowd conservatives out of the marketplace, then it will enlist the courts or the White House to force them out—whether it's Constitutional or not. To read Jordan's op-ed on this wave of one-sided 'tolerance,' click here."

**

Of course, the original FRC piece wasn't about interracial marriage but same-sex marriage, so above, pretty much every time you see the word "interracial," feel free to substitute FRC's word "same-sex" or "lesbian" or "homosexual." Still, it's funny how easily the language used to denigrate one can be used to denigrate the other—isn't it?






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Mark Kernes

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