Christian Wedding Photographer Sues New York Over Law Forcing Her to Service Same-Sex Marriage Ceremonies Despite Religious Objections

Emilee Carpenter, a New York-based wedding photographer who in April 2021 sued the state over public accommodation laws that required her to service same-sex weddings despite her religious objections. | Emilee Carpenter

A Christian professional photographer filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the state of New York, seeking to overturn a law that could result in her being jailed for up to a year and fined $100,000 if she does not work same-sex weddings.

The law in question prohibits “unlawful discriminatory practices” because of sexual orientation in “any place of public accommodation.” The law does not limit the definition of public accommodation to a physical space and includes “retail … establishments dealing with goods or services of any kind,” according to the lawsuit.

Photographer Emilee Carpenter owns a photography business that offers several services and specializes in wedding photographs. She also is a Christian who believes in the biblical definition of marriage.

“Emilee believes that God designed marriage as a gift for people of all faiths, races, and backgrounds, to reflect the unity and diversity seen in the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and to point people to Jesus’ sacrificial and redemptive love for His Church,” the suit says. “Emilee celebrates engagements and marriages between one man and one woman through what she photographs, participates in, and posts about in order to share God’s design for marriage with her clients and the public consistent with her beliefs.”

Alliance Defending Freedom filed suit on her behalf, alleging the law violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments, including her freedom of speech and free exercise of religion.

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SOURCE: Christian Headlines, Michael Foust