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Alliance Alert

Aug 3, 2017

Victory for Amy Lawson

Earlier this week, we told you that a Wisconsin photographer was asking a court to halt the enforcement of a Madison ordinance and a state law against her while her lawsuit proceeds.

During the hearing, the court announced it would issue an order declaring that she and her business would not be subject to those laws.

So, what does that mean?

To understand, let's talk about the reasoning the court provided. It said that Amy Lawson and her business were not subject to the laws because she does not have a physical storefront. The court also announced that it would be issuing an order to that effect, which is expected in the coming weeks.

Here is what ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs had to say:

The court’s announcement has important implications for everyone in Wisconsin who values artistic freedom. It means that government officials must allow creative professionals without storefronts anywhere in the city and state the freedom to make their own decisions about which ideas they will use their artistic expression to promote. The court found—and the city and state have now agreed—that such professionals cannot be punished under public accommodation laws for exercising their artistic freedom because those laws simply don’t apply to them. No one should be threatened with punishment for having views that the government doesn’t favor.

Note especially that last line, where Scruggs says "no one." While the order forthcoming from the court is a victory for Amy Lawson and her business (and many other creative professionals), what about the creative professional who does have a storefront? What about the cake artists, videographers, and other professionals who have set up brick-and-mortar shops?

Unfortunately, unless these laws are overturned, changed, or limited, those creative professionals will still be subject to the same violations of their freedom that Amy was facing. ADF will continue to fight for the First Amendment freedoms of all creative professionals.


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