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By Deacon Keith Fournier

12/14/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The trend is ominous. We need to expose and oppose it by defending all of the Rights protected by the US Constitution, including the free exercise of religion, the right to free speech, free association and the right to participate in commerce

The effect of these rulings, if not reversed, is that committed Christian people who take their faith as a guide for every area of their life, live in New Mexico and want to be wedding photographers - will now have to choose another line of work. Committed Christians who bake wedding cakes in Colorado, will soon have to stop pursuing their chosen career or be run out of business by punitive fines. They are excluded from participating in that area of commerce if they want to follow their informed conscience and live in accordance with their sincere faith.  

Charlie Craig and David Mullins, two homosexual men, had their sexual relationship endorsed and their life partnership declared to be a marriage in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. They wanted to have a wedding reception in Lakewood, Colorado in July of 2012. They demanded that a Christian named Jack Phillips, owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, make their wedding cake.

Charlie Craig and David Mullins, two homosexual men, had their sexual relationship endorsed and their life partnership declared to be a marriage in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. They wanted to have a wedding reception in Lakewood, Colorado in July of 2012. They demanded that a Christian named Jack Phillips, owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, make their wedding cake.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/14/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Alliance Defending Freedom, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Elane Photography, homosexual, gay, lesbian, First Amendment, Constituion, anti-Christian, persecution, Deacon Keith Fournier



DENVER, CO (Catholic Online) - Judge Robert N. Spencer recently decided to unilaterally disregard the protections offered by the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution - at least in so far as classical Christians are concerned. He ruled that the First Amendment protection of the Free Exercise of Religion no longer applies when the issue of homosexual and lesbian activism is involved.

The fundamental Human Right to Religious Freedom must now give way to the New Cultural Revolution being led by a small fringe of the Homosexual Equivalency Movement. Fundamental Human Rights,enshrined within the Constitution, must succumb to a Judges decision that a legal equivalency be enforced between homosexual and lesbian relationships and marriage between one man and one woman. This new order is backed by the punitive police power of the State.

Judge Spencer ruled, in total disregard of even the State Constitution of Colorado that "Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in this state", that an anti-discrimination law in Colorado should be applied so as to include homosexual practice in the same category as race, creed, gender and national origin.

In effect, homosexual activists are being given a newly manufactured right to compel a Christian businessman or woman to violate their deeply held religious beliefs or be forced out of business by a punitive, confiscatory fine, levied by a Judge who has joined their Cultural Revolution.
 
Charlie Craig and David Mullins, two homosexual men, had their sexual relationship endorsed and their life partnership declared to be a marriage in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. They wanted to have a wedding reception in Lakewood, Colorado in July of 2012. They demanded that a Christian named Jack Phillips, owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, make their wedding cake. 

Jack Phillips told the two homosexual men, "I'll make you birthday cakes, shower cakes, and sell you cookies and brownies. I just don't make cakes for same-sex weddings." His concern was that the cake was expressing a message of support; indicating that homosexual partnerships are the moral and legal equivalent of marriage. He, like all classical, faithful Christians, views Marriage as existing only between one man and one woman.  

The homosexual couple could have had the cake made elsewhere. However, though they understood that it was because of the religious convictions of the proprietor, or perhaps precisely because of those convictions, they turned to the ACLU and filed a lawsuit. If Jack Phillips failed to make the wedding cake they would face such a severe fine that they would have to shut down their business.  

Jack Phillips was represented by an Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer named Nicolle Martin. She told a local Denver radio host:  "If the service or the product is expressive, if it sends a message, and the government says you have to make it, create it and carry it for someone else -that is forced speech."

However, in his ruling, Judge Spencer wrote "it may seem reasonable that a private business should be able to refuse service to anyone it chooses. This view, however, fails to take into account the cost to society and the hurt caused to persons who are denied service simply because of who they are."

On Thursday, August 22, 2013, five Justices of the New Mexico Supreme Court told Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin they could no longer be wedding photographers because they are Christians who take their faith as a guide for every area of their life. They do not view homosexual or lesbian partnerships as a marriage and act accordingly. 

The controversy began in 2006. The Christian married couple own a photography business called Elane Photography which offers wedding photography services to the public. They were approached by a lesbian couple and asked to photograph a lesbian commitment service. They politely refused the offer of business, explaining that their Christian faith would not allow them to do so. New Mexico law, at that time, did not recognize in the law either marriage or civil unions between people of the same sex.

The lesbian couple found another photographer for the ceremony. They lost no money or time in the effort. However, they filed a complaint with the State Human Rights Commission charging that the refusal violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMHRA) and that the refusal constituted sexual orientation discrimination.

The case progressed through the administrative procedure and into the Courts, ending up at the New Mexico Supreme Court. A review of the State Supreme Court opinion reveals that after the photography business declined to offer its services, the events which followed were orchestrated by the lesbian couple in order to set the case up. In 2003 the NMHRA was amended to include those with homosexual, lesbian or any other form of "sexual orientation" beside heterosexual, among its list of protected classes.

The State Supreme Court held that "When Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony; it violated the NMHRA in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races. Even if the services it offers are creative or expressive, Elane Photography must offer its services to customers without regard for the customers' race, sex, sexual orientation, or other protected classification."

In a concurring opinion, Judge Beeson added even more disturbing language, addressing the Huguenins religious beliefs:  "As devout, practicing Christians, they believe, as a matter of faith, that certain commands of the Bible are not left open to secular interpretation; they are meant to be obeyed. Among those commands, according to the Huguenins, is an injunction against same-sex marriage.

"On the record before us, no one has questioned the Huguenin's devoutness or their sincerity; their religious convictions deserve our respect. In the words of their legal counsel, the Huguenins "believed that creating photographs telling the story of that event [a same-sex wedding] would express a message contrary to their sincerely held beliefs, and that doing so would disobey God."

He used his judicial office to chastise a Christian couple for acting in fidelity to their deeply held religious convictions:  "There is a lesson here. In a constitutional form of government, personal, religious, and moral beliefs, when acted upon to the detriment of someone else's rights, have constitutional limits. One is free to believe, think and speak as one's conscience, or God, dictates.

"But when actions, even religiously inspired, conflict with other constitutionally protected rights. Their refusal to do business with the same-sex couple in this case, no matter how religiously inspired, was an affront to the legal rights of that couple, the right granted them under New Mexico law to engage in the commercial marketplace free from discrimination."

He finally opined:  "The New Mexico Legislature has made it clear that to discriminate in business on the basis of sexual orientation is just as intolerable as discrimination directed toward race, color, national origin or religion. The Huguenins today can no more turn away customers on the basis of sexual orientation-photographing a same-sex marriage ceremony-than they could refuse to photograph African-Americans or Muslims. All of which, I assume, is little comfort to the Huguenins, who now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives. Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering. It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views."

"On a larger scale, this case provokes reflection on what this nation is all about, its promise of fairness, liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice. At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation's strengths, demands no less. The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in their personal lives wherever they lead. The Constitution protects the Huguenins in that respect and much more. But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life."

"In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship. I therefore concur."

The effect of these rulings, if not reversed, is that committed Christian people who take their faith as a guide for every area of their life, live in New Mexico and want to be wedding photographers - will now have to choose another line of work. Committed Christians who bake wedding cakes in Colorado, will soon have to stop pursuing their chosen career or be run out of business by punitive fines. They are excluded from participating in that area of commerce if they want to follow their informed conscience and live in accordance with their sincere faith.  

The trend is ominous. We need to expose and oppose it by defending all of the Rights protected by the US Constitution, including the free exercise of religion, the right to free speech, free association and the right to participate in commerce. However, we also need to be aware that morally coherent Christians, who live a unity of life and believe that their faith informs every aspect of their life, are at the beginning of a period of growing persecution. We must pray, band together and act.

---


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