07.01.2008 0

Red Guard Tribunal Ruling Casts Aside the Constitution

  • On: 07/29/2008 12:44:15
  • In: First Amendment

  • Earlier this month we informed you of the chilly “Human Rights” show trial of Elaine Huguenin, a photographer sued for refusing to violate her religious beliefs and photograph a lesbian “commitment ceremony.” In a blatant disregard for the defendant’s First Amendment rights, the New Mexico Human Rights Commission has now “ruled” in favor of the plaintiff, Ms. Vanessa Willock, ordering Mrs. Huguenin to cover the plaintiff’s legal fees of $6,637.94.

    In addition to the violation of First Amendment-guaranteed Freedom of Religion, this ruling also runs counter to the New Mexico Religious Freedoms Restoration Act. UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh states the following on his legal blog, The Volokh Conspiracy:

    “The act, which is similar to the legal rules in place in about half the states and as to federal law, provides that:

    ‘A government agency shall not restrict a person’s free exercise of religion [i.e., an act or a refusal to act that is substantially motivated by religious belief] unless … the application of the restriction to the person is essential to further a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.’”

    Volokh states that the NM HRC ignored this statute. But that is not all. In addition to violating the New Mexico RFRA and the Constitution’s guarantees of Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Association, the “ruling” runs counter to the 1995 US Supreme Court decision in the case of Hurley v. Irish-American Gay Group of Boston, in which the high court held that forcing a private organization to include groups which were contrary to the message the private organization wished to portray was a violation of the First Amendment rights of the aforesaid private organizations.

    The Alliance Defense Fund, who represented the defendant in this case, plans to appeal. And in the meantime, the individual liberty of every American has been further infringed by yet another non-judicial, extralegal “Rights Commission”, boldly proclaiming that within the dark, dark confines of their Star Chambers, the rules of evidence do not apply.

    ALG Perspective: Aside from the fact that the New Mexico HRC is exempt from following the same rules as a normal court, and thus should not be considered a true “court,” the NM HRC has violated state, federal, and constitutional guarantees of freedom. This is a form of reverse discrimination, in which a private company is penalized for its beliefs after declining to support another entity’s contrary beliefs. As ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence stated so succinctly, “The government cannot make people choose between their faith and their livelihood.”

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