Can’t Force to Photo Same-Sex Wedding

Louisville wedding photographer Chelsey Nelson

“Saying ‘gay rights and freedom of speech’ can co-exist, a federal judge Friday sided with a Christian photographer in ruling the city of Louisville, Ky., cannot force her to work at same-sex weddings. The case involved a Christian photographer, Chelsey Nelson, who owns a studio that specializes in photographing, editing and blogging about weddings. She sued Louisville in 2019, claiming its anti-discrimination law would require her to photograph a same-sex wedding and thus violate her First Amendment rights. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Justin R. Walker sided with Nelson and issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the city from enforcing the law against her in her photography and her blogging. Nelson will likely succeed in her lawsuit, he ruled. Alliance Defending Freedom represented her. ‘America is wide enough for those who applaud same-sex marriage and those who refuse to,’ he wrote. ‘The Constitution does not require a choice between gay rights and freedom of speech. It demands both. Forcing citizens to express ideas contrary to their deepest convictions is always demeaning. It doesn’t matter if most people agree with the expression the government compels. Free thought includes both the right to speak freely and to say nothing at all.’ The city, he wrote, is ‘attempting to compel religious speech at the core of the First Amendment.’ Photography is a form of art, he asserted, and art is speech protected by the U.S. Constitution. Miller quoted the Supreme Court’s 2015 same-sex marriage Obergefell decision, which said affirmatively of religious freedom, ‘The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.’ ‘We would do well to heed them,’ he wrote of the high court’s comments. ‘They affirm that the same Constitution held by Obergefell to guarantee the right of same-sex couples to marry also protects religious and philosophical objections to same-sex marriage. That our society has largely accepted same-sex marriage is all the more reason to protect the First Amendment rights of those who wish to voice a different view. Although a sometimes hazardous freedom, free speech is a basis of our national strength.’” (“Louisville Can’t Force,” Christian Headlines, Aug. 14, 2020)

Comment: The U.S. Constitution does not guarantee the right of same-sex couples, and the Founders would not have dreamed of granting such a right. It was created from thin air by activist judges, and it is this inventing of “rights” that has brought religious liberty and freedom of speech into jeopardy.

(Friday Church News Notes, August 21, 2020,,, 866-295-4143)