Wisconsin Photographer Wins Case Against Anti-bias Laws

MADISON, Wis.
   A Wisconsin photographer and blogger won her fight recently against city and state laws forcing her to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies. Amy Lawson’s saving grace did not come from the First Amendment but from her lack of a brick-and-mortar location.

   “The court’s announcement has important implications for everyone in Wisconsin who values artistic freedom,” said Jonathan Scruggs, the Alliance Defending Freedom attorney who argued the case before Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard Niess on Aug. 1. “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.” 

   Lawson’s successful “pre-enforcement” lawsuit, Amy Lynn Photography Studio v. Madison, is part of a new tack taken by religious liberty attorneys — suing government entities over nondiscrimination laws before someone sues Christian service providers for violating those laws. 

   Fearing reprisals for refusing to photograph gay weddings, Lawson stopped taking wedding assignments until the conclusion of her lawsuit, filed March 7. Failure to comply with the City of Madison’s nondiscrimination ordinance could have cost the 25-year-old photographer $500 for each day of noncompl ...

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