Christian photographer appeals ruling forcing her to photograph LGBT weddings

Emilee Carpenter / Emilee Carpenter Photography website

After a district court dismissed her case in December, a Christian photographer who challenged New York state laws that require her to take photos of same-sex weddings is appealing, reports CBN News.

Emilee Carpenter has been fighting the laws, which attempt to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, for close to a year. The laws in fact trample individuals’ rights to base their own actions on their own beliefs, holding those rights as inferior to those of gays who don’t want to simply find a photographer more willing to record their “weddings.”

Attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represents Carpenter, filed her appeal with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 12. The laws go against the First and Fourteenth Amendments, they argue, and restrict her rights to freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion.

“Artists like Emilee are protected under the Constitution to freely live and work according to their religious beliefs, and it is imperative the 2nd Circuit upholds that fundamental right,” ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs said. “Emilee happily serves all people; she just cannot promote messages which contradict her religious beliefs, including her views on marriage. A government that crushes an individual’s right to speak and act freely threatens every American’s freedom.”

One of the laws also forbids Carpenter and her business from publicly explaining on her studio’s own website or social media her religious reasons for only celebrating wedding ceremonies between one man and one woman.

New York prohibits such explanations because they could make potential customers feel victimized. Or at least say they feel victimized.

The penalty for not following the state’s laws could include fines of up to $100,000, revocation of a business license, and even up to a year in jail.

“The court’s decision continues down a dangerous path of the government compelling artists to speak messages that violate their religious beliefs — or imposing steep fines, closing their businesses, or throwing them in jail,” ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs said in a statement.

The law firm said the ruling leaves Carpenter with “three bad options”: Violate the law, violate her beliefs, or close business.


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