Local Wedding Photographer Files Appeal of Court Ruling Regarding Religious Beliefs on Same-Sex Marriage
ALBANY, NY (WENY) -- A local photographer, whose lawsuit against New York state and a local district attorney over the state's anti-discrimination laws was dismissed last month, has filed an appeal.
Emilee Carpenter, of Emilee Carpenter Photography has appealed her case to New York's 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. Carpenter claims New York's anti-discrimination laws violate her religious beliefs, and prevent her from denying photography services for the marriages of same-sex couples, to which she is religiously opposed.
In June 2021, Carpenter filed a lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James, the Interim Commissioner of the New York State Division of Human Rights, Johnathan Smith, and Chemung County District Attorney Weeden Wetmore. A United States District Judge dismissed the case in mid-December.
Carpenter is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom. The non-profit legal organization says New York's laws leave Carpenter at risk of prosecution, including fines and jail time, if she refuses her services to photograph the wedding of a same-sex couple. Carpenter claims New York's existing laws violate her free-speech and free association rights, her right to freely exercise her religion, the First Amendment, and her right to due process.
“Artists like Emilee are protected under the Constitution to freely live and work according to their religious beliefs, and it is imperative the 2nd Circuit upholds that fundamental right,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs. “Emilee happily serves all people; she just cannot promote messages which contradict her religious beliefs, including her views on marriage. A government that crushes an individual’s right to speak and act freely threatens every American’s freedom.”