Tales of bakers and officiants having issues with same-sex marriages are becoming rarer with each passing year yet that doesn’t mean that stories about a person’s right to refuse service based upon some kind of moral or religious objection don’t get attention.
One Kentucky photographer finds herself at the center of a story about a photographer’s right to refuse to shoot (and, oddly, blog about) same-sex weddings because she is suing the city of Louisville, Kentucky – preemptively – in order to prevent the enforcement of a fairness ordinance which prevents discrimination based upon sexual orientation.
Photographer Chelsey Nelson is being represented by a group called Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative rights group, and is acting to prevent what they perceive as the city government somehow “forcing” her to accommodate these groups in terms of professional services and aforementioned blogging.
As anyone who has worked with weddings and wedding photographers knows, it would be a brave couple that enlists a photographer that sues her city to prevent working with certain clients in the first place and this author feels comfortable enough with the notion that Nelson’s current marketing efforts are doing an amazing job at procuring only the kinds of clients she wants to work with in the future.
Specifically, the lawsuit says that the law would “force Chelsey to create photographs for, blog about, and participate in solemn ceremonies she disagrees with—same-sex wedding ceremonies” and that she “doesn’t want to have to violate the law in order to challenge what is an unjust application of a law.”
Further, Nelson and her legal representatives are casting all of this as an artist rights issue with Nelson herself saying, “The government shouldn’t force artists to express views they disagree with. And that goes for both people who share my particular views and those who don’t.”
As PetaPixel points out, all of this might be a gigantic smoke and mirrors show because Nelson’s rights are already protected under a law in Kentucky called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Ultimately, Nelson’s goal is to have the law ruled unconstitutional though many point out that is unlikely to happen given the law’s robust stance in the face of previous, likely more well-positioned, challenges.
What do you think about a photographer preemptively suing a city to make sure they don’t “force” her to photograph and, by her accounts, BLOG about gay weddings? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Also, don’t forget to check out our other photography news articles on Light Stalking by clicking here.