As religious liberties sustain constant attack in America, a wedding photographer in Louisville, Kentucky is taking up the fight to preserve her right to decline to work same-sex “marriages.” According to LifeSiteNews, Chelsey Nelson, a Southern Baptist, “has filed a lawsuit against a Louisville ordinance that she says violates her religious liberty by forcing her to lend her services to same-sex ‘wedding’ ceremonies.”
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing Chelsey Nelson, who owns a photography studio in Louisville, in her lawsuit against the city’s Fairness Ordinance, which states that businesses cannot deny a customer “full and equal” enjoyment of goods, services, privileges, advantages, or public accommodations on the basis of various attributes, including sexual orientation. It also forbids businesses from publishing communications suggesting such “discrimination.”
According to ADF, this means that Nelson not only must photograph same-sex “weddings,” but that she cannot publicly explain why she wants to only photograph monogamous male-female unions.
The complaint notes that forcing her business to serve homosexual unions is hardly necessary to ensure they can find willing photographers, as an online directory lists lists 91 other photographers in Louisville and 314 photographers statewide who advertise their willingness to do so.
Nobody has yet attempted to enforce the ordinance against Nelson, yet she has filed this pre-enforcement challenge in anticipation of future efforts, just as religious business owners have successfully done in Arizona and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
On Thursday, the Louisville Courier-Journal published an op-ed written by Nelson in which she explains her stance on marriage.
“Because marriage is so important to me, I’m careful to photograph and blog about each of these solemn ceremonies in a way that reflects my views of marriage,” she writes.
She goes on to say, “This means I wouldn’t be the best person to photograph every wedding.” She also discusses the fact that she serves “everyone regardless of who they are. I just don’t photograph every wedding requested of me. For example, I can’t celebrate a wedding that devalues how seriously I take marriage — like a heavily themed Halloween or zombie-themed wedding.”
“My highest aim in life is to honor God, and that informs everything I do, business included,” she continued. “When I look back on my life when I’m older, I want to be able to say that I stayed true to this goal — that I ran the race and finished well.”
Nelson is a great example of the kind of Christian 21st century America needs to see; someone dedicated to living out her faith and able to express her convictions in love rather than condemnation. She is a shining light for Christ!
As ADF senior counsel, Kate Anderson, said, “Artists shouldn’t be censored, fined, or forced out of business simply for disagreeing with the government’s preferred views,” Anderson added, “No matter one’s views on marriage, we all lose when bureaucrats can force citizens to participate in religious ceremonies they oppose or to speak messages they disagree with. On countless other topics, photographers and other artists can freely choose the stories they tell. Chelsey simply asks for the same freedom.”
The city’s ordinance is ironically named the “Fairness Ordinance” as it seems the only people who will be treated with “fairness” are those who identify as LGBT. The ordinance is just another example of bureaucracy pandering to LGBT individuals and giving them special privileges and rights, which always end up curtailing everyone else’s.
Christians must be willing to take up the fight for our religious liberties. We should never be forced to violate our deeply held convictions for the sake of political correctness, social pressures, or the world’s standards. If we do not take up the fight, we will surely lose our right to disassociate from events and activities we do not agree with.
Pray for Nelson’s success in overcoming this discriminatory “fairness” ordinance.
If you appreciate the work we are doing to fight the leftist assault on our values, please consider a small donation to help us continue. Thank you so much!