A Christian wedding photographer who refused to photograph same-sex marriages has had her case dismissed. The photographer, Emilee Carpenter argued that the non-discrimination laws violated her rights to express her religious beliefs.
Carpenter filed the lawsuit in April of 2021 claiming that New York’s nondiscrimination laws were forcing her to choose between going against her faith by photographing same-sex weddings and paying fines of up to $100,000.
Carpenter argued that the laws violated her 1st and 14th amendment rights. After being asked to photograph seven same-sex weddings she sued the state.
“Just as the government cannot compel a lesbian baker to create a cake condemning same-sex marriage or an atheist playwright to wax positively about God, New York cannot force Emilee to convey messages she objects to,” the lawsuit said.
But U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. dismissed Carpenter’s case saying that ‘the court is not persuaded, ruling that withholding Carpenters services would “relegate [same-sex couples] to an inferior market than that enjoyed by the public at large”.
New York Attorney General James tweeted that the dismissal was a major victory and that her office “will always fight to ensure that every New Yorker is treated equally under the law across our entire state.”
In a major victory, a judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by an Elmira wedding photographer who refused to photograph same-sex marriages.
My office will always fight to ensure that every New Yorker is treated equally under the law across our entire state.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) December 16, 2021
This is of course not the first time that a wedding photographer or videographer has found themselves in such a situation where their religious beliefs contradict the state laws. Fundamentally refusing a service based on somebody’s race, gender or sexual orientation is discrimination and these rules exist to help protect LGBTQ+ people from such discrimination.
[Via NBC News]