Sex, Compulsion and Kodachrome

If you’re a wedding photographer in New Mexico, and you refuse to photograph same-sex commitment ceremonies, be prepared to break out your checkbook. The New Mexico Human Rights Commission forced Elane Photography to fork over $6,637.94 in attorney’s fees and costs when its owner, Elaine Huguenin, told a bride that her small firm only photographs traditional weddings. You’d think there was only one wedding photographer in all of Albuquerque.

This reminds me of the female Massachusetts lawyer whose practice was restricted to representing only women who found herself in big trouble for turning down a guy who wanted to be her client a few years back. Is Massachusetts suffering from a dearth of divorce lawyers these days?

Now, I can certainly see calling some businesses “public accommodations,” but forcing a photographer to take shots he or she doesn’t want to take it is taking it just too far. Would you really want your marriage shot or dissolved under duress? Let’s hope that the wedding photographer and the Massachusetts lawyer got enough positive publicity out of these insane prosecutions to more than pay those legal fees.

Many thanks to Billie Mercer for directing me to Musings on Photography, which led me to The Volokh Conspiracy, which explains all of the legal mumbo-jumbo behind the decision.


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