NY photographer appeals court ruling that would force her to work same-sex weddings

Harold Hutchison, DCNF

A New York photographer is appealing a federal court ruling that would force her to provide her services for same-sex weddings in violation of her religious beliefs, according an announcement by her attorneys.

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), attorneys for Emilee Carpenter, announced the plan to appeal a decision that would allegedly force her to produce photographs and blogs celebrating same-sex weddings against her religious beliefs without providing an opportunity to explain her views on same-sex marriage.

“Her photographs are a product of her personal ‘artistic discretion,’ ‘technical proficiency,’ and ‘moral standards,’ and it is her ‘faith and eye for beauty’ that ‘shape her photography—from first click to final edit,’” U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. wrote when he dismissed Carpenter’s First Amendment claims in December 2021.

“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 in the group’s announcement. “Emilee happily serves all people; she just cannot promote messages which contradict her religious beliefs, including her views on marriage.”

ADF also represents other creative professionals making similar First Amendment claims. One of the group’s clients, the plaintiff in 303 Creative v. Elenis, is seeking Supreme Court review of a Colorado law which empowers the government to force her “to speak messages with which she disagrees,” according to the ADF.

“A government that crushes an individual’s right to speak and act freely threatens every American’s freedom,” Scruggs said.

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