The exterior of the U.S. Supreme Court is seen in Washington March 5, 2014. U.S. Supreme Court justices on Wednesday appeared to look for a compromise that would enable them to avoid overruling a 26-year-old precedent that made it easier for plaintif
The exterior of the U.S. Supreme Court is seen in Washington March 5, 2014. U.S. Supreme Court justices on Wednesday appeared to look for a compromise that would enable them to avoid overruling a 26-year-old precedent that made it easier for plaintif
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.