FILE - U.S. Supreme Court in Washington
FILE – U.S. Supreme Court in Washington

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a photographer who objected to taking pictures of a same-sex wedding.

The high court’s denial Monday leaves in place a decision by the supreme court in the western state of New Mexico.  That court ruled Elane Photography violated the state’s anti-discrimination law when it refused to take pictures of a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony.

The co-owner of the photo studio, Elaine Huguenin, said taking the photos would violate her religious beliefs that marriage should be between a man and a woman

The state court ruled the photo studio’s action was discriminatory in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding of a racially mixed couple.

The United States is in the midst of an extended public debate over gay rights.  Seventeen of the country’s 50 states and Washington D.C. have legalized same-sex marriages, with several judges overturning bans that had prohibited them.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits and allowed gay couples to marry in the country’s most populous state, California.  But the court has yet to rule whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriages.

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