A photographer based in Norfolk, Virginia, filed a lawsuit against the commonwealth earlier this week, arguing a new law could threaten the future of his business.
The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Christian photographer Chris Herring in a suit against Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (no relation) and the Virginia Division of Human Rights and Fair Housing.
Chris Herring believes the newly enacted Virginia Values Act forces him to promote same-sex marriage in defiance of his Christian convictions, according to The Virginian-Pilot.
The entrepreneur “faces an impossible choice: violate the law and risk bankruptcy, promote views against his faith, or close down,” said his attorneys at ADF. “And this was exactly what Virginia officials wanted for those who hold Chris’ religious beliefs about marriage. Legislators who passed Virginia’s law called views like Chris’ ‘bigotry’ and sought to punish them for ‘unlimited punitive damages’ to remove them from the public square.”
ADF argued in court filings that the language of the Virginia law would force Chris Herring “to create and convey photographs and blogs celebrations of same-sex weddings because he does so for weddings between a man and a woman.”
As it’s written, the new policy bans discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation in housing, public and private employment, public accommodations, and access to credit.
Kate Anderson, senior counsel for ADF, said her client wants to write a belief statement to publish on his photography website, explaining why he is opposed to same-sex marriage and doesn’t photograph such weddings. Chris Herring, though, is fearful such a post could result in the commonwealth driving him into bankruptcy with an unending stream of fines.
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