Christian Photographer Defends Her Rights at the 2nd Circuit — New York State and Local DA Want to Force Her to Provide Services That Violate Her Religious Beliefs

Leftists are doing all they can to erode religious freedom in the name of homosexual “rights.” They understand in theory that the state has no business forcing an artist to use his or her talents to perform services they find objectionable.

Would leftists agree that a black baker should use his artistic talents to make a custom cake for a “white supremacist” wedding?

A Christian photographer named Emilee Carpenter filed a lawsuit last year to stop the state of New York and a local district attorney from compelling speech. She doesn’t want to use her artistic talents to provide services for same-sex “weddings.”

Carpenter, who says she loves photographing weddings, believes what the Bible teaches: marriage is the union between one man and one woman. But the state bars business owners from “discriminating” on the basis of sexual orientation, even if compelling them to do so violates their rights. Business owners can’t even explain why they decline services on their own websites, if the reason is religious.

“Right now, I’m facing pretty severe threats from New York state, which are really scary,” Carpenter said. She faces a fine of $100,000, jail time, and the closure of her business. Carpenter said the only options she has are to violate her faith, the law, or close down her business. “And none of those feel like viable options.”

All artists should be free to choose the messages they promote, Carpenter added.

A lower court ruled against Carpenter last year. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), her legal counsel, said the court “relied on the same unprecedented logic the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit used in its July ruling in another ADF case, 303 Creative v. Elenis. In that case, the 10th Circuit ruled that the government can compel web designer and graphic artist Lorie Smith to speak messages with which she disagrees because she creates ‘custom and unique’ expression.”

Carpenter appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. ADF announced that attorneys will present arguments on Wednesday.

“The government cannot coerce or silence speech because it doesn’t like certain ideas,” ADF Legal Counsel Bryan Neihart said. “The Constitution ensures Americans can speak [consistently] with their convictions. We are urging the 2nd Circuit to uphold this freedom so that Emilee can promote marriage according to her beliefs without being coerced by the government to speak a contrary message.”

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