This letter is one of many I am writing tonight. I am sending different versions of this letter to several talk-radio hosts, New Mexico lawmakers, and the Governor of New Mexico. Feel free to use this letter as a basis for letters of your own. Justice is running afoul of common sense and common decency in New Mexico, at the least we can do is let this woman know someone cares.
This one is going to Glenn Beck, feel free to use any or all of it for yourself. Feel free to send it to other media members.
I write on a small blog called The Line Is Here (http://thelineishere.org). I did a piece a few weeks ago about a New Mexico woman named Elaine Huguenin, a small business woman with a mom and pop type photography studio. When she refused to accept work from a lesbian couple based on her religious principles, the couple sued her for violating New Mexico’s anti-discrimination law: a law set up not to keep a business from accepting work they didn’t agree with, but to protect employees from discrimination in the workplace.
See my post about the matter here: http://thelineishere.org/?p=121
Since that post was written, new developments have occurred that I think go above and beyond poor judgment by the plaintiff. Mrs. Huguenin has just been ordered to pay for the plaintiff’s legal fees. Please see the following posts from other sites:
http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2008/04/christian-photographer-fined-6600-for.html (this one actually shows the judgment that was handed down.)
What this boils down to is this: one of the lesbian couple, Vanessa Willock, is currently an EEO Compliance Representative with the Office of Equal Opportunity where she investigates claims of discrimination and sexual harassment. She is also a member of the Diversity Committee at University of New Mexico. I feel that her status as a member of the EEO Office as well as her being a member of the Diversity Committee gave her a feeling of righteous indignation that is completely unfounded. This woman then used her position, or possibly her influence, to bring this “case” to one of those Human Rights Commissions that seem to think that they have the right to tell decent, hard working people how to live their lives. The same kind of Human Rights Commission that is trying to bring down Mark Steyn in Canada.
Beyond the public embarrassment of being dragged in front of the “Commission” for two days of testimony, and beyond the public flogging Mrs. Huguenin was forced to endure for her religious beliefs, this woman has now been ordered to pay the attorney fees OF THE WOMAN WHO MADE THE COMPLAINT. Seriously, it isn’t like Mrs. Huguenin had a contract or accepted money then backed out because she found out on the day of the event that the couple was gay, which could have conceivably “ruined” the brides’ day. She was contacted via email and simply made the mistake of saying “no” due to her religious beliefs, not malice. Since when does a business not have the right to refuse a client that they feel isn’t in line with their business plan?
It would be patently unfair and unethical to force a photographer to produce images she was uncomfortable with if they were pornographic or illicit or even went against her political beliefs; but since this is an attack on her religious beliefs does that mean it is fair game? Is it even remotely fair to tell a woman who has been dragged through the mud that she has to now pay for the rope that dragged her?
I write to you tonight in the hopes that you can use your voice to bring this travesty of justice to a larger audience. I would hope that your voice, and your audience, could tell this poor woman that those of us who still believe in liberty feel that justice has not been served in her case. I would hope that you might even be able to start a fund for her legal defense and encourage her to take this ridiculous case to a higher court. (Possibly with a different legal team since her current one has failed to protect her, although since I wasn’t in the kangaroo pen with them, that could just be an uniformed opinion. I don’t claim to know all the details, but it seems that her legal aid tried a defense based on the First Amendment, but perhaps a better tack would have been case law as expressed in the findings of West Va. Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette.)
For the record, I listen to your show and share many of your beliefs about government and liberty, but just so you aren’t caught by surprise, I have publicly espoused my atheism. I mention that so you could see that even though I do not share your faith or even that of Mrs. Huguenin, I still feel that her rights to freely express HER beliefs have been violated.
You can contact me via the email address firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.