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.
That doesn’t sound like free speech and free artistic expression, does it? Of course not! But in order to avoid being forced to speak messages and promote events that violate her Christian faith, Amy stopped taking wedding and organizational photos altogether.
Thankfully, she doesn’t have to do that any longer.
A court ruled that the Madison ordinance does not apply to Amy because she does not have a physical storefront. That means she has the freedom to use her talents to promote and celebrate events that are consistent with her beliefs and to decline to use her talents to promote and celebrate events that are not.
This is an important victory for anyone who values artistic freedom! And creative professionals without a storefront in Madison and all throughout Wisconsin can breathe a sigh of relief. They still have the freedom to make decisions about which ideas they will use their artistic expression to promote.
This marks the end of the legal road for Amy, as the court has assured her that she will not be punished simply for operating her business according to her beliefs. She can now return to taking wedding photos and promoting what she wants on her blog.
But Alliance Defending Freedom will continue to work to ensure that all creative professionals – regardless of whether they have a storefront – are protected from threats to their constitutional freedoms.
The government should never have the power to tell creative professionals what they must promote with their talents and speech.
Yet, ordinances like Madison’s have been enacted across the United States. ADF is challenging similar laws on behalf of several clients nationwide, including these artists in Arizona, these filmmakers in Minnesota, and this graphic designer in Colorado.
We are thankful for the clients who are courageous enough to stand up for their rights and help secure freedom in our country. To learn more about their cases, visit the link below.