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Alliance Alert

Aug 25, 2017

Victory for Amy Lawson and Creative Professionals in Wisconsin

We noted earlier this month that a court announced it would issue orders declaring that Amy Lawson and her business would not be subject to laws that were threatening her business.

The court has now issued those orders. Let's take a look.

First, a reminder on why Amy Lawson asked the court for the orders in the first place, per Sarah Kramer at the ADF blog:

Amy Lawson has a passion to use her talents in photography and blogging to promote the beauty of God’s design for marriage and the sanctity of life.

But a local ordinance in Madison, Wisconsin forced her to take a step back from these types of projects.

Why? Because under the ordinance, “sexual orientation” and “political affiliation” are both protected classes. That means if she takes photos of weddings between one man and one woman, she must also take photos of a same-sex wedding. And if she takes photos for pro-life organizations, she must do the same for pro-abortion events and organizations. Not only that, but she must also praise these events on her blog – in her own words – as she does for all of her clients.

When the case went before the court, the judge announced that the ordinance would not actually apply to Amy Lawson. Now the judge has made that official in declaratory judgment orders pertaining to both the city of Madison and the state of Wisconsin, which you can read here and here respectively.

Here's what ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs had to say:

The court’s judgment has vital implications for everyone in Wisconsin who values artistic freedom. The court found—and the city and state have now agreed—that creative professionals without storefronts can’t be punished under public accommodation laws for exercising their artistic freedom because those laws simply don’t apply to them. It means that government officials must allow such professionals anywhere in the city and state the freedom to make their own decisions about which ideas they will promote with their artistic expression. The court’s orders bring this case to a close, and we are pleased that Amy and many other artists in Madison and throughout the state can pursue their work without fear of government censorship.

The orders are good news for Amy and many other creative professionals without storefronts in Madison or other parts of the state. ADF will continue to work to ensure that all creative professionals are protected from threats to their constitutionally protected freedoms, regardless of whether they have a storefront.

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