New Precedent Could Halt Attacks on Christian Photographers


In the recent 303 Creative case decision released by the Supreme Court, the justices banned the state of Colorado from picking and choosing its own leftist ideology and requiring business owners from state that as their own.

The result, the second time in a row that the state of Colorado has been caught, and scolded, for its “hostility” to Christianity, now should be applied to other similar cases, according to ADF.

In 303 Creative, the justices said the right to free speech means Colorado’s leftist governor, Jared Polis, and the state Democrat machine there, could not require Lorie Smith, a web designer, to promote same-sex weddings with her website business.

Earlier, the justice blasted Colorado for its actual “hostility” to Christian baker Jack Phillips in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. That followed one state official actually likening Christians to Nazis.

Now the ADF, which fought at the high court on behalf of Jack Phillips and Lorie Smith, is recommending that appeals courts use the new precedent to end other cases being pursued against Christians.

The organization reports, “In the first case, Chelsey Nelson Photography v. Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government, ADF attorneys filed a supplemental brief Thursday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit asking it to affirm a lower court order that blocked a Louisville law from forcing photographer and blogger Chelsey Nelson to communicate messages that contradict her beliefs.

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“In the second case, Emilee Carpenter Photography v. James, ADF attorneys filed a supplemental letter brief Friday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit asking it to allow Emilee Carpenter, a New York photographer and blogger, to create messages consistent with her faith.”

Those rulings, if released by the appeals judges, would align with the Supreme Court ruling.

“Free speech is for everyone. As the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed in 303 Creative, the government can’t force Americans to say things they don’t believe,” said ADF lawyer Bryan Neihart. “That ruling makes clear that nondiscrimination laws like Louisville’s can remain firmly in place, but the government cannot misuse those laws to compel speech. The U.S. Constitution ensures Lorie Smith, Chelsey Nelson, Emilee Carpenter—and indeed, every American—can speak consistent with her convictions.

“Now we urge the 6th Circuit and 2nd Circuit to uphold this freedom and follow Supreme Court precedent so that Chelsey and Emilee can speak freely without being threatened by the government with steep fines and penalties.”

Nelson and Carpenter, like Smith and Phillips, confirm that they serve everyone and anyone, including clients who identify as LGBT.

But they limit the messages they express to ones they support.

In Nelson’s case, the city of Louisville threatened her and tried to force her to create messages about marriage she does not believe. A district court judge rejected the city’s contentions, but the city appeal to tried to impose its censorship plan.

“In Carpenter’s case, ADF attorneys are asking the 2nd Circuit to uphold the photographer’s First Amendment rights and reverse a district court’s ruling that concluded the state of New York and a local district attorney can force her to create photographs and blogs inconsistent with her beliefs. New York’s laws threaten Carpenter with fines of up to $100,000, a revoked business license, and up to a year in jail,” the report said.

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