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SCOTUS Declines 'Religious Freedom' Case That Inspired Anti-Gay Bills

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AP Photo / Charles Dharapak

The case centered on whether a photography business had violated New Mexico's Human Rights Act when it refused to offer its service for a same-sex commitment ceremony. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in August that the business' actions did violate the couple's human rights under state law. The Supreme Court then refused Monday to take up the case, leaving the state high court's decision standing.

The business owners cited their Christian beliefs as a defense in declining to provide their services to the couple. Their circumstances have been repeatedly invoked by state lawmakers in pushing 'religious freedom' bills like that one that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) vetoed in February.

The Center for Arizona Policy, which helped draft that bill, pointed directly to the New Mexico court's decision in explaining the need for such legislation.

"As an example of just how serious the threats to religious liberty are and of the mindset of some opposed to religious liberty, a New Mexico justice ... stated that the 'price of citizenship' is being forced to compromise one’s religious beliefs," the center said. "This is not what the founders of this nation had in mind when they drafted the First Amendment, yet America and Arizona continue to witness religious liberty shrink."