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KY photographer asks 6th Circuit to protect her right to create freely

ADF attorneys available for media interviews following hearing Friday
Chelsey Nelson Photography v. Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government

WHO: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys

WHAT: Available for media interviews following oral arguments in Chelsey Nelson Photography v. Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government

WHEN: Immediately following hearing, which begins at 9 a.m. EDT, Friday, July 28

WHERE: U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse, 100 E. Fifth St., Cincinnati, or view the livestream. To schedule an interview, contact ADF Media Relations Specialist Hattie Troutman at (771) 200-7630.

CINCINNATI – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a wedding photographer and blogger will be available for media interviews Friday following oral arguments at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in her lawsuit against the city of Louisville.

ADF attorneys are asking the court to uphold the First Amendment rights of Chelsey Nelson and her photography studio and affirm a district court’s ruling in Chelsey Nelson Photography v. Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government. That court concluded Louisville cannot misuse its laws to compel Nelson to create photographs and blogs celebrating a view of marriage she does not believe. The city of Louisville then appealed that ruling to the 6th Circuit.

“Free speech is for everyone. The U.S. Supreme Court recently affirmed in 303 Creative v. Elenis that all artists have the freedom to create messages that align with their beliefs without fear of government punishment,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs, vice president of litigation strategy and the Center for Conscience Initiatives, who will argue before the court on behalf of Nelson. “That ruling allows non-discrimination ordinances like Louisville’s to remain in place while ensuring that government officials cannot misuse those laws to compel speech. We are asking the 6th Circuit to affirm the lower court ruling, uphold this freedom, and allow Chelsey to promote marriage according to her beliefs.”

Nelson’s case is comparable to another ADF case recently decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, 303 Creative v. Elenis. That case involved Colorado graphic artist and website designer Lorie Smith, who challenged a state law that forced her to express messages that violated her beliefs. The Supreme Court concluded that the state of Colorado could not compel Smith to create content that contradicted her views on marriage. In a supplemental brief, ADF attorneys explained why 303 Creative resolves Nelson’s case to and protects the freedom of speech for all Americans.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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Jonathan Scruggs
Jonathan Scruggs
Senior Counsel, Vice President of Litigation Strategy & Center for Conscience Initiatives
Jonathan Scruggs serves as senior counsel and vice president of litigation strategy and the Center for Conscience Initiatives with Alliance Defending Freedom.