Emilee Carpenter can’t refuse same-sex marriages

Emilee Carpenter is seen in a Fox News Channel screenshot.

An upstate New York wedding photographer lost her offer to turn down service to same-sex couples after a federal judge prejudgedly dismissed her lawsuit against the state.

Emilee carpenter, a Southern Tier-based photographer and blogger, sued the state in April, alleging that the state’s human rights law violated her rights to freedom of expression, association and religious expression of the First Amendment. She also said the law violated the establishment clause and her due process rights.

Carpenter appointed New York attorney general Letitia james and Acting Commissioner for Human Rights Jonathan smith as defendants.

Carpenter said the law violates her First Amendment right to freely exercise her religion because she uses her wedding photography business to exercise and express her religious beliefs about marriage.

In a decision released on Monday, the U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. said he did not find Carpenter’s arguments convincing and that the state’s human rights law was neutral.

“The mere fact that a state enforces its public accommodation laws notwithstanding the religious motives of accommodation does not indicate unacceptable hostility” to religion, Geraci wrote.

Carpenter also said that forcing him to photograph same-sex marriages would require him to “participate in religious exercises contrary to [her] sincere religious beliefs “, because it is his practice to” celebrate marriage “,” to follow[] officiant’s instructions ”,“ singing ”and praying at heterosexual marriages.

Geraci, a Barack obama person named, said that Carpenter, as a photographer, is not required to do these things at any event that she photographs.

“As long as these activities are not services that the applicant is hired to provide, the laws would not require the applicant to participate in religious exercises at same-sex marriages simply because she chooses to actively participate in them and religiously when photographing heterosexual marriages. ”Geraci wrote. “Religious activities taking place at a wedding, whether for a same-sex couple or an opposite-sex couple, are aimed at the couple, friends, family and any other guests present. They are not intended for the caterer, the florist or the photographer.

James and several same-sex advocacy groups celebrated Monday’s decision.

“This court decision is a huge victory in our quest to ensure that every New Yorker has equal access and equal protections under the law,” James said in a statement. declaration. “The LGBTQ + community is an integral part of New York City, and no New Yorker should be excluded or turned away from a business or denied service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Love is love, which is why my office will always fight to ensure that all New Yorkers are treated equally under the law.

Conservative Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Carpenter, said in a declaration that he would appeal the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

“The court ruling continues on the government’s dangerous path forcing artists to deliver messages that violate their religious beliefs – or imposing heavy fines, shutting down their businesses or throwing them in jail,” ADF senior lawyer said . Jonathan scruggs. “Artists like Emilee and Lorie smith in Colorado are constitutionally protected to live and work freely according to their religious beliefs. However, the Orwellian decision of the 10th Circuit in 303 Creative v. Elenis opened the door for government officials to coerce all kinds of speech – forcing full respect for state approved speech or being treated like criminals. Emilee and Lorie happily serve everyone; they simply cannot promote messages that contradict their religious beliefs, including their views on marriage. We sincerely hope that the Supreme Court will hear Lorie’s case and protect the constitutional freedoms of all Americans, including creative professionals like Lorie and Emilee.

Dozens of groups and organizations have filed amicus briefs. Carpenter found support from 14 states, including Nebraska, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas, as well as New York-based organizations Family Research Foundation and New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms. .

Twenty-one states filed briefs in favor of James, including California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois and North Carolina. James has also received support from religious and civil rights organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, Americans United for Church and State, the Hindu American Foundation, the Methodist Federation for Social Action, the American Civil Liberties Union. and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

You can read the decision below.

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