Chelsey Nelson Photography v. Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government

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Friday, February 28, 2020

Description:  A Louisville, Kentucky, law forces a local photographer and blogger to use her artistic talents to promote same-sex wedding ceremonies if she photographs and blogs about weddings between one man and one woman. The law also forbids her and her studio from publicly explaining to clients and potential clients through her studio’s own website or social media sites the religious reasons why she only celebrates wedding ceremonies between one man and one woman.

DOJ sides with artistic freedom of KY photographer, blogger

Friday, February 28, 2020

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs regarding the U.S. Department of Justice’s statement of interest filed Thursday in federal district court in support of the artistic freedom of a Kentucky photographer and blogger in the ADF case Chelsey Nelson Photography v. Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government:

“Every American, including photographers and writers like Chelsey Nelson, should be free to peacefully live and work according to their faith without fear of unjust punishment by the government. We appreciate the DOJ’s support of that principle in its statement of interest filed today. Chelsey serves all people. But the Louisville government is trying to compel Chelsey’s speech, force her participation in ceremonies she objects to, and eliminate her editorial control over her photographs and blogs. As the DOJ rightfully explains, ‘The Supreme Court has made plain that the government cannot “[c]ompel[] individuals to mouth support for views they find objectionable….” Just last year, in fact, the Eighth Circuit held that Minnesota could not force wedding videographers to film weddings that they did not wish to film…. The same principle applies here.’

“Cases like Chelsey’s demonstrate why the U.S. Supreme Court should take the case of Washington floral artist Barronelle Stutzman as a complement to the recently granted Fulton case. Without the Supreme Court’s intervention in Barronelle’s case, Arlene’s Flowers v. State of Washington, state and local government officials will continue to threaten sincere people of faith like Barronelle and Chelsey with severe penalties for living out their beliefs in the public square.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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Additional resources: Chelsey Nelson Photography v. Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government

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Friday, February 28, 2020

Previous news releases:

  • 2019-11-19: KY wedding photographer, blogger challenges censorship of her beliefs


  • Maureen Collins: This Kentucky photographer’s free speech should be protected (Christian Post, 2020-02-06)
  • Chelsey Nelson: Louisville photographer: As a Christian, I shouldn't be forced to work same-sex weddings (Louisville Courier-Journal, 2019-11-21)
  • Jonathan Scruggs: A Hollywood script about free speech in Louisville, Kentucky (Townhall, 2019-11-21)
  • Jim Campbell: Kentucky decision on Christian print shop shows why Supreme Court should rule on religious business owners (Daily Caller, 2019-11-18)

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