A Christian wedding photographer who refused to work at same-sex weddings is going to have to do some career soul-searching after a federal court in New York dismissed her lawsuit.
Emilee Carpenter filed the suit in April after she was asked to photograph seven same-sex weddings, arguing that New York’s nondiscrimination laws forced her to betray her faith by snapping photos of happy, same-sex couples or else pay fines of up to $100k.
She claimed her First and 14th amendment rights were being violated.
“Just as the government cannot compel a lesbian baker to create a cake condemning same-sex marriage or an atheist playwright to wax positively about God, New York cannot force Emilee to convey messages she objects to,” the lawsuit argued.
U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. of Western New York said “the Court is not persuaded” as he dismissed Carpenter’s claims Monday.
“The crux of Plaintiff’s claims is that her photography is the product of her unique artistic style and vision. Thus, an exemption for Plaintiff’s unique, non-fungible services would necessarily undermine, not serve, the State’s purpose, as it would ‘relegate [same-sex couples] to an inferior market’ than that enjoyed by the public at large,” Geraci said.
Carpenter was defended by The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative Christian nonprofit advocacy group “that has supported the recriminalization of sexual acts between consenting LGBTQ adults in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has contended that LGBTQ people are more likely to engage in pedophilia; and claims that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy Christianity and society,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“ADF also works to develop ‘religious liberty’ legislation and case law that will allow the denial of goods and services to LGBTQ people on the basis of religion,” the group adds.
ADF has requested the case be brought before the Supreme Court.