Kentucky Photographer Sues for Her Religious Right to Discriminate Against the LGBTQ Community and Game of Thrones Fans

What started as a quiet local story in Louisville, Kentucky is quickly becoming national news. Early Saturday morning, USA Today published an opinion piece written by wedding photographer Chelsey Nelson in which she proclaimed herself a victim of Louisville’s Fairness Ordinance. 

In her article, Nelson introduces herself and her case through positive messages of what marriage means to her, repeatedly using words like “love,” “joy,” “awe,” and “passion.” She speaks of the importance of a strong relationship with the couples she photographs as any other photographer would:

On their wedding day, they probably spend more time with me than anyone else. I even do my initial consultations in my home. At my kitchen table over cookies, I get to hear about them and their dreams for the future as we plan how to capture their big day. Then, we schedule an engagement session to make sure they’re comfortable in front of my camera. (Most of us aren’t used to a photographer following us around all day, right?)

Chelsey Nelson's opinion article was published on USA Today on November 23, 2019

She goes on to admit that her strong values about marriage prevent her from photographing just any wedding ceremony:

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... to show others that marriage really is worth pursuing… For example, I can’t celebrate a wedding that devalues how seriously I take marriage — like a heavily themed Halloween or zombie-themed wedding.

It seems fair enough. It’s likely that many photographers would avoid a gimmicky zombie-themed wedding, though gimmicks are obviously not her only worry when it comes to photographing what she perceives as non-traditional weddings. In the opinion piece, Nelson repeatedly dances around her true concern, but to anyone with half a brain cell and an awareness of recent current events, it’s all too clear. For Nelson, LGBTQ weddings are public enemy number one and in a media environment that's increasingly focused on spin, Nelson portrays herself as a victim:

[A] Louisville, Kentucky law threatens me with damages if I stay true to my beliefs about marriage. Actually, the law won’t even let me explain some of my religious beliefs about marriage, whether on my studio’s website, social media, or directly to couples who may want to work with me. I also can’t explain how some of my religious beliefs affect which weddings I celebrate through my photography.

Here's some background information on the Louisville law to which Nelson is referring. Passed in 1999, the Louisville Fairness Ordinance was a major victory for historically marginalized communities, establishing protections for the LGBTQ community (among others) from discrimination:

It is the policy of the Metro Government to safeguard all individuals within Jefferson County from discrimination in certain contexts because of race, color, religion, national origin, familial status, age, disability, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Certain practices must be prohibited within the areas of employment, housing, public accommodation, resort or amusement as necessary to protect individual’s personal dignity and insure freedom from humiliation; to make available to Jefferson County all full productive capacities; to secure Jefferson County against strife and unrest which would menace its democratic institutions; and to preserve the public safety, health and general welfare. (Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, Chapter 92)

The ordinance goes on to define discrimination as “any direct or indirect act or practice of exclusion, restriction, segregation, limitation, refusal, denial, or any other act or practice of differentiation or preference in the treatment of a person or persons, or the aiding, abetting, inciting, coercing, or compelling thereof made unlawful under this chapter.” Clear enough.

Because Chelsey Nelson Photography provides goods and services to the general public, her business is categorized as a Place of Public Accommodation, Resort, or Amusement. In refusing her services to anyone because of their sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation, Nelson would certainly be breaking the law. What’s more, the ordinance prohibits businesses from advertising in any way (website, social media or otherwise) that they plan to deny service to anyone in the future because of discriminatory practices or beliefs. 

So yes, if Nelson can’t tell the world that she doesn’t want to service the LGBTQ community and she can’t legally turn the LGBTQ community away if they attempt to contract her for weddings, then she’s a bigot up a creek without a paddle. 

While her manifesto in USA Today provides a seemingly heartfelt and non-confrontational explanation of her beliefs regarding marriage, a lawsuit filed against the city of Louisville on November 19th makes her self-justified bigotry crystal clear. With the assistance of legal representation provided by Alliance Defending Freedom (a conservative Christian faith non-profit), Nelson submitted fifty-three pages to argue that by enforcing the Fairness Ordinance, Louisville is actually violating her religious freedoms. 

Here are some of the highlights of the suit:

  • Nelson believes that by forbidding her from proclaiming her discriminatory practices against LGBTQ weddings, she is being forced to violate the biblical command to love her neighbor through honesty. (Section 79)
  • Nelson believes that some people have a calling from God to create art and that she is one of those people. (Sections 83 and 84)
  • Nelson wants to turn down any requests for services that require her to use her God-given talents to promote immorality, dishonor to God, or anything contrary to her religious beliefs. (Section 187) These requests are further characterized as same-sex, polygamous, open marriages, or “services that demean others, devalue God’s creation, condone racism, sexually objectify someone, celebrate pornography or obscenity, praise vulgarity, or contradict biblical principles.” (Sections 190-192)
  • It’s not just LGBTQ weddings that pose a problem. Nelson is fighting for her right to turn down zombie or Game of Thrones-themed weddings as well. (Section 206)
A screenshot of Alliance Defending Freedom's blog about Chelsey Nelson

There’s a lot to unpack there, and I’ll let you explore it in its mind-numbing depth on your own, but any members of the LGBTQ community hoping to hire Chelsea Nelson for their wedding photography anyway shouldn’t despair. Nelson asserts she is happy to work with anyone regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation provided that a few specific criteria are met:

...Chelsey will happily work with and provide her wedding celebration services for a wedding between a homosexual man and a woman so long as the marriage is the exclusive union of that one man and one woman. Likewise, Chelsey will happily work with and provide her wedding celebration services for a wedding between a bisexual woman and a man so long as the marriage is the exclusive union of that one woman and one man. (Sections 200-202) 

So, there you go. She's only opposed to homosexuality if it's unrepressed.

What are Nelson's overall goals? In both her opinion piece and her lawsuit, Nelson expresses that her ultimate desire is to either be allowed to turn away LGBTQ marriages with which she doesn’t agree or be allowed to proclaim her beliefs clearly on her website and social media to keep any would-be LGBTQ clients from attempting to hire her. As things currently stand, Nelson feels she is being forced to choose between her religion and her livelihood.

While no LGBTQ couples have approached her requiring she break the law yet (we know this because the suit is characterized as a “pre-enforcement challenge”), her suit claims the situation is inevitable. The suit specifically references Louisville as having “the 11th highest rate of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender among the fifty largest metropolitan areas in the United States.” (Section 243) 

Chelsey Nelson doesn’t like those odds:

Chelsey faces a credible threat and substantial risk that she will receive requests to provide wedding celebration and boutique editing services for same-sex weddings, likely leading to prosecution under Louisville’s law. (Section 242)

After widely proclaiming her feelings toward same-sex marriage or anything else she deems “non-traditional,” I wouldn’t be so sure that the threat is all that “credible.” Everyone everywhere will now know exactly what she believes and any clients hoping to avoid discrimination will likely give her a wide berth.

I spoke with Rebecca and Charlotte (last names withheld, because even though Louisville is progressive, Kentucky was the setting for the Kim Davis debacle), an engaged couple living in Louisville, to get their perspective on the situation. They believe Chelsey Nelson is unlikely to receive LGBTQ wedding requests in the first place. Rebecca told me about their vendor search:

A lot of photographers on Instagram would have something on their bio saying 'Jesus is king,' which seemed like code for 'I won’t shoot your gay wedding.' Then, you look and see no photos of same-sex couples. I don’t know why she thinks a same-sex couple will even want to hire her. As queer people, we’re so used to being very careful. If you’re a queer couple, you’re going to find a vendor who shows publicly that they’re queer-friendly. You don't want a negative interaction as a stain on your wedding-planning experience.

Charlotte added:

If I'm going to hire you, I want to see you’ve been doing this for at least five years and that you’ve shot queer people and people of color before. I want you to know what you're doing, how to pose us as a couple (without relying on straight-gendered posing), and what to expect. I wanna see the receipts!

Based on the experience they've had living in Louisville, neither Rebecca nor Charlotte think this lawsuit is going to have any major ramifications within their city's LGBTQ community. The couple believes the article and lawsuit are a publicity stunt that will likely succeed in bringing in more business from people who have the same beliefs as Chelsey Nelson. For a business with roughly 400 Instagram followers and fewer than 150 Facebook followers, the lawsuit serves as a big opportunity to garner plenty of national attention. Adding to the publicity stunt argument is the fact that Nelson has been in business for three years and didn't choose to fight for her religious freedom to discriminate until now, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of Louisville's Fairness Ordinance.

Through her widely circulated opinion piece and her now high-profile lawsuit, Chelsey Nelson seems to have found the ultimate loophole for Louisville’s Fairness Ordinance: while it is illegal to discriminate on your website and social media, it’s not illegal to tell the world that you aim to discriminate if you do it under the auspices of filing a lawsuit. 

Perhaps that’s what she was after all along.

For a directory of LGBTQ friendly businesses in Louisville, Kentucky, visit https://www.fairness.org/resources/

Lead image provided by Laura Rhian Photography under Creative Commons.

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213 Comments

Previous comments
Studio 403's picture

Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, the writer of this post shows her bias favoring the gay community. That makes her a bigot too as she freely writes about the photographer. I don’t give a rip how one operates their business. That is my personal issue, the writer offering her views as one who is judgmental, critical and lame reporting. “Just the facts” said Jack from the oldie Dragnet TV show. I call this pathetic journalism.

user 65983's picture

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Daryl Alm's picture

Why is it unacceptable for Chelsey Nelson to adhere to her beliefs, and totally acceptable for this author to publicly bully and shame and hate her for it simple because she will not adhere to the beliefs of the author?Bunch of raving sociopaths in here. This article was clearly written with a hate-filled heart towards Christians. This was her soapbox to bully and shame and put down a very rather competent photographer. Since when did
Fstoppers become a far-left social platform?

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Cherry picking is not a way of life. We all purchase products and services not even knowing what the seller's religious, political or emotional believes are. Do you like communists? because you have most certainly purchased product made in Vietnam. So in a way, you support communism either you understand it or not. And because, your phone, shoes, furniture... are cheaper that way, you don't have to admit it to yourself, but you'll go buy Vietnamese made products for at least the next ten years despite communism possibly not being the ideology you support. Are you truly adhering to your believes?

David Pavlich's picture

Here's a thought; why would you want to hire someone/company that doesn't particularly want to do work for you?
This goes back to the baker that didn't want to make a cake for a couple because of their orientation. Why would you want someone baking a cake for you that is forced to do so? I know that if I went into a shop that was run by 'Okay, Boomers' that didn't like gray bearded Boomers like me, I'd take my money where I thought that I'd get the best service or product. Simple.

Douglas Turney's picture

This is a sticky subject and in some ways I can see the point of each side. However society is better off in my opinion when there isn't discrimination. I understand the religious point but only when it involves performing an act that your religion says you shouldn't. If your religion says gay marriage is a sin then don't enter into a gay marriage. However I have yet to see where photographing a gay marriage is a sin. If one argues that photographing a gay marriage is supporting gay marriage and that in itself is a sin for the photographer then could even talking to the gay couple be considered a sin? Sure I understand perhaps a doctor not performing an abortion if their religion says it's a sin but this is because the act of the abortion is the thing their religion forbids.

Most of these refusals seem to be Christian based yet I don't see a huge portion of our Christian society refusing military service based on the religious basis of it being a sin to kill someone.

Another thing is how does any photographer or service provider for a wedding know that the couple doesn't believe in or participate in activities that the photographer or service provider considers to be against their religion? Perhaps the couple getting married believes in an open marriage which would be considered adultery. Or if the photographer is Mormon would they not shoot a wedding where alcoholic beverages are served?

pdbreske's picture

As a Libertarian, I do not want the government telling me or any other business owner how we can and should run our businesses. If someone doesn't want to take pictures of a gay wedding, that's their business and it's fine. I don't understand why ANY gay couple would even want to hire someone who doesn't think they should be getting married. (If you're gay and you just want to force someone who hates you to work for you, then you're also an asshole.)

And if you also believe the photographer is wrong to discriminate, then YOU should also avoid hiring them. Eventually, no one except other bigots and racists would hire this person and the business would likely fail, no? PROBLEM SOLVED! Now, if the majority of the people living in the area ARE bigots and racists and the business flourishes, then that is a happy community.

This used to be a free country.

pdbreske's picture

Let me be clear that I do support forcing GOVERNMENT agencies to serve and support everyone no matter their gender preference, etc. But I do not support any legislation that imposes that same doctrine on private companies. In other words, when you go to the county clerk for a marriage certificate or building permit, they absolutely must serve you no matter their personal beliefs or objections. If you walk into the local hardware store, on the other hand, I feel they can ask you to leave for any reason they decide to make up. And it’s your right to shop somewhere else.

Andrew Johnson's picture

If you tell somebody that they must service all customers and they are not allowed to deny anyone that's called indentured servitude.
Forcing someone and telling them you must service us even if you don't want to and if you don't we'll send people with guns to drag you away is what this leads to. If someone doesn't want to serve you for any reason then go somewhere else, that's the free market, it works.

Why is Fstoppers becoming a haven for people to write articles about their political views and have almost nothing to do with the actual craft of photography?

The whole purpose of this article is to defame a photographers decision because you don't agree with it. Best part is Jordana, you openly call this other photographer a bigot but you write an article like this which is a textbook definition of you being a bigot. :D Nice job.

user 65983's picture

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Jeff Walsh's picture

I'm willing to put a large amount of money down that says this same person shops at stores that aren't run by Christians, bought a car from a dealership that isn't owned by a Christian, shops are a grocery store that isn't Christian, but suddenly their "values" are so important that they can't serve a non-christian couple.

Total hypocrisy, and utter trash beliefs. And none of what I wrote is targeted at Christian beliefs, because those beliefs should be rooted in the Bible which says to do the exact opposite of what is happening here. Jesus served, ate, hung out with, and socialized with the worst of the worst of his time, in multiple cities and places. So for any "Christian" to claim religious views to alienate any people group is totally against the foundation of Christianity. This person is a bigot, and their beliefs that they claim are "Christian" aren't. Their beliefs are bigotry

Dan Grayum's picture

In all of these comments no one hase suggested the best camera and lens for a gay wedding.

T Van's picture

Strangely enough,inanimate objects like cameras and lenses don't discriminate about whose wedding it is...
Photographers should be more like their gear.
Just do the job you claim you do...

T Van's picture

Stop calling yourself a professional photographer if you'd rather dictate religious beliefs.

Chiel Broerse's picture

What part of the article states that the photographer "dictates" how other people should live? Please convince me you didn't "fill in the blancs" where there weren't any. To be clear: she just does not want to have these people as client and she is clear about that. Those clients are free to go to any other photographer.
Me and my wife don't like to have dogs in our house so we notify guests that they should leave them at home. Are we "dictating" those guest not to have any dogs?
I think that it *is* it's a sign of professionalism to be clear about your criteria, to be up front about your believes.

T Van's picture

What part of being a photographer requires anyone to consider the clients beliefs?
No part of being a photographer requires that.

What part of photography involves religious beliefs?
None.

Being a professional means working with people you don't agree with.

Therefore, she is not a professional photographer.

She is, however using her bronze age superstitions as a club against those that don't share them.

David Pavlich's picture

"Being a professional means working with people you don't agree with."

Since when? If I'm going to shoot an event and the client requires something that I don't want to do, I'm going to turn down the work. What I would do is recommend another photographer, but being forced to do a shoot? Yea, right!

Again, I ask, why would anyone want to have someone do work for them that doesn't want to do work for them? It's like the baker that wouldn't make a cake because of the couple's orientation. Force that baker to make the cake and the only way I'd have that person make that cake is if I were there watching EVERY step. Otherwise, one might end up with an eye of newt of toe of frog mixed into the batter. Nobody would notice, but.....

T Van's picture

It's called self regulation and it's a key part of Professionalism in the work place.
Don't hang your shingle out as a Professional Photographer if you don't want to take work from certain people.
Instead stay an amateur, taking only the gigs that you find through personal referrals.
A Professional would never let the client know there was something about the client they found distasteful. That would be very unprofessional
I wonder how professional you may be since you don't seem to recognize key components of Professionalism.
Nobody forces anybody to be a Photographer.
Refusing a shoot over differences in unrelated personal matters is very unprofessional.

pdbreske's picture

You didn’t mention your own religious beliefs, or if you even have any. Personally, I’m an atheist. But let’s say you have a magazine that wants to hire you to photograph a fake wedding and they will pay you ten thousand dollars for the photos. They plan to use these photos of a fictitious couple pledging to support Donald Trump for a second term. The better your photos are, the more support he will get in the election. Since I’m guessing you’re not a big supporter of Trump, I’m also guessing you wouldn’t be thrilled to shoot this wedding to the best of your abilities, if at all. But the government says you can’t refuse to shoot this wedding for some reason. What are you going to do?

T Van's picture

LOL, the people I work for are licking Trump's tonsils from the inside. That's how far up his ass they are.
Look people need to grow up.
Did she advertise herself as a professional photographer?
Did people take her up on it?
Did she then say, oh wait a minute, I only want to shoot certain people and things?
It's on her.
She didn't fulfill her social contract she made by not including the caveat's in her social contract/business advertisement.
I was given an edict by one of my superiors decades ago and I have given it to my subordinates in my turn. That is, I am not allowed to discuss politics, or religion with clients. Period. No exceptions. It is grounds for immediate termination. If a client presses you, that is your response. If they keep on, change the subject. If that doesn't work, excuse yourself.
Client's are quirky, weird, obnoxious, and sometimes disturbed.
It's not for everyone.
Don't even get me started on Sales people....
There are 6 billion people on the planet.
Learn how to get along, grow up and stop acting like children squabbling in the back seat.
So help me if I have to stop the car....

user 65983's picture

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T Van's picture

Ummm, yea sounds pretty amateurish to me. I know as someone who hires people, I wouldn't hire you.

Jeffrey R Farmer's picture

Bigot: noun - a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.

Okay, the photographer is a "bigot". The author of this article is a "bigot". Everyone is a "bigot". - We'd better learn to get along.

pdbreske's picture

Wait. After thinking about this, I have to know if there are any other photographers that serve this area. If there are not, and the photographer in the article has absolutely no competition, why is she not charging hundreds of thousands of dollars for a wedding? Clearly her work is so scary good that the gay couples in the area are willing to give her their hard-earned money even though she is homophobic. Let me state that again: They know she doesn’t like them, and they still want her business to flourish. She is just that good.

Most people in her shoes would be millionaires by now.

Tom Jensen's picture

All I know is that I need to come up with something controversial like she did. I bet she's booked solid for 2020 with all the press about her. She'll have to put up with some abuse for sure but the haters aren't the ones giving her their money. She should also charge huge to build up her bank account for when her business starts slipping away as her local community slowly catches up to the 21st century.

pdbreske's picture

Apparently, the "haters" ARE the ones giving her their money, as they sometimes file suit to MAKE HER AND PEOPLE LIKE HER TAKE THEIR MONEY.

John Dawson's picture

Reason #427 to avoid wedding photography.

Krissa K's picture

As a woman married to a woman, all I can say is... reading these comments shows me that many of my fellow photographers are a lot more bigoted than I would have thought.

Deleted Account's picture

Stick around, Fstoppers is loaded with them, articles like this make them come running.

Deleted Account's picture

You must be new to the Internet ;)

Mark Wyatt's picture

I won't get involved in the discussion other than to say that the author has already tried and convicted the photographer in question.

John Dawson's picture

Yup, that's how it is these days. Tolerance has come to mean "You must believe what I believe or you're a bigot." We used to be able to hold differing beliefs without being tagged with every conceivable derogatory label.

George Anderson's picture

Here we see arrogance in the LGBTQ movement and the opinions of the author of this piece, who demands a perfect world where everyone gives LGBTQ people what they want every damn time - you know, just like straight people get from life. Don't ask us to call a second photographer or go a few miles further to find some one who is willing to shoot our wedding. No. Photographers have to violate their own personal beliefs and be coerced into doing what they don't wish to do. We all fight to deal with such coercion as infrequently as possible in our lives. It's quite onerous, unless it's imposed by this movement. Then it's cool!

Another dimension of this situation is producer verses consumer. I recommend we side with the photographer. She is the producer and creates something the consumer in this situation can't, a professional wedding shoot. We should respect production, skill and hard work. These things are all on the side of the photog.

Thankfully, most people (my sense only) in the LGBTQ community are reasonable, live-and-let-live individuals. They're willing to pick up that phone a second time. The live in and deal with the world as it is. Here, from the article is an example:

"A lot of photographers on Instagram would have something on their bio saying 'Jesus is king,' which seemed like code for 'I won’t shoot your gay wedding.' Then, you look and see no photos of same-sex couples. I don’t know why she thinks a same-sex couple will even want to hire her. As queer people, we’re so used to being very careful. If you’re a queer couple, you’re going to find a vendor who shows publicly that they’re queer-friendly. You don't want a negative interaction as a stain on your wedding-planning experience."

Exactly, and amen. Problem solved. LGBTQ wedding shot by one of many happy to do it.

pdbreske's picture

What is the end-game here? What does this kind of lawsuit hope to accomplish? As far as I can tell, it will allow LGBTQ people to give their money to people who don't want it and who also don't pretend to like the LGBTQ lifestyle. And this is referred to as "winning" by the LGBTQ community?

pdbreske's picture

I see an opportunity here: I'm going to start requiring $10,000 deposits with $100,000 final payments for family portraits, but I will refuse to shoot [insert minority here] clients. Then, when I eventually lose the inevitable lawsuit, I will accept said payments from the [insert minority here] family who won in court. I'm assuming they would hire me after the lawsuit, otherwise, why would they sue me to begin with? Sounds like a win for me AND [insert minority here] families.

Luke Adams's picture

As a Christian, I believe in your right to get married as an LGBGT person. But I also believe in my right not to be forced to photograph your wedding. As a photographer, I’m directing you into romantic and intimate moments, and how could I do this and profit from the event if it goes against core beliefs that I hold before God? Whether you think that makes me a bigot or not, that’s fine. In some countries, Child marriage is okay, and I’m sure many of you would refuse a wedding of that nature because of your core beliefs too. And I’m also sure you wouldn’t compromise those beliefs just because of the opinion of others.

Billy Walker's picture

I can't say I know why she has chosen to do this now and I'm not going to take a guess at the reasoning behind it. However, I do agree with her stance on the subject. I'm stupid enough to think she has rights as well. Further thought forthcoming.

Jesus, yes, I'm stupid enough to believe in Jesus, made very clear certain things taking place in the world were wrong in God's eyes. Having said that Jesus never advised anyone to go out and hurt the people who were committing these types of unGodly acts.

I do think the overall message from Jesus is one of love along with man's sinful nature. I don't know if there is a line to be drawn or not when it comes to the LGBTQ community and I'll explain. Christians do have a responsibility to let people know about Jesus and God. However, we are still commanded to love people and hate the sin. A responsible Christian will separate the two and I do believe that's Biblical. Although people will make fun of it.

What exactly does this mean? And, am I even right? I believe it is a Christian's responsibility to show love and forgiveness. Part of that in my mind states you don't go around spewing hatred. You also don't go around working with an event that is sinful in God's eyes. Despite what the law may say. You also would not want to elevate anyone who is sinning so blatantly. As a gay person has the secular right to marry whom they choose, a Christian business person should have the right to not work with certain things and/or people.

Using people of color as part of the conversation is inappropriate. God never said Black people were bad. In fact, God never stated anything bad about skin color. He does clearly discuss the sinful nature of man however. Even if someone does not believe in God or Jesus I would think they would be aware of the sin comment I just made.

I believe the photographer has every right to conduct her business in the manner she has chosen. The gay person has every right to get married in a secular manner. God will handle the scenario as He sees fit.

As far as the legality is concerned... my viewpoint only and probably not appropriate. Government at all levels breaks its own laws and arrests people who are innocent. Prosecutors put people in jail based on a creative story the prosecutor told in court. You have prosecutors who intentionally leave out evidence. What this woman is doing is a non-starter when compared to what governments can do. Let her run her business in her chosen manner.

We all choose businesses we're going to do business with based on a number of factors. As far as I'm concerned this type of scenario is just another factor. The gay individual could easily deal with some other business just like every reader here who decides whether they're going to deal with XYZ Company or not based on various beliefs and/or experiences.

Now, if someone wants to withhold housing and/or food and/or medicine and/or use their car as a weapon against a gay individual, that's worth fighting against. I just don't see the need to fight for a supposed right to use a certain photographer. I understand people have different opinions on this highly charged subject and you have every right to feel that way should you feel it is appropriate. As for me I'm going to deal with it in what I feel is a Godly-like manner.

Could I be wrong? Absolutely. I am of the opinion I'm not.

michaeljinphoto's picture

🤦‍♂️

JAY B's picture

This or a case similar to this will eventually end up in the Supreme Court. This photographer will win. Louisville will lose.

John Dawson's picture

Yes, as it should be.

glenn Wright's picture

I don't think that the government should mandate anyone to provide goods or services based on religious beliefs however in this case it is not likely to be a problem anyway as this appears to be a publicity stunt for her.
I can't afford to turn away clients myself however I do point out to African American clients that shooting and editing dark skinned persons can be tricky to someone who shoots mainly light skinned clients and perhaps they might want to consider a different photographer however if they still want me to do it I will accept the work.

Michael Steinbach's picture

I didn’t read the comments so if this has been asked, sorry. Why would you want to have someone photograph (or any other service) your wedding if they are not willing to? Wouldn’t you want the business invested in doing their respective best for you? Would you want to put your memories in the hands of a person that doesn’t really want to be there? While I think it is obnoxious that there are haters and judgmental people that hide behind their religion, there are options that don’t make your wedding a pissing contest.

Robert Nurse's picture

It wasn't too long ago, within my lifetime, where businesses were free to discriminate against people of color (POC) for a whole host of justifications. Oddly enough, religious grounds were no exception. I happen to be Christian. I also happen to be a POC. Photographing someones wedding or their way of life is in no way, shape or form your acceptance of it. Baking a cake or photographing a same sex wedding doesn't mean you're giving it sanction. It means you're supplying a service. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no religious cover this. In the case of Christianity at least, Christ served anyone who sought Him out. Therefore, if you're a Christian making these religious arguments against serving someone because of this or that, please, just don't. If you don't want to serve this group or that for whatever reason, that's fine. But, please, leave Christ out it.

Jeff Walsh's picture

Well said and 100% accurate.

Billy Walker's picture

Actually, may not be 100% accurate. And, here's why:

Matthew 10:14 states:
"And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town."

Now to me the questions is: does that apply to the scenario we're talking about? And the answer is: I just don't know.

It is said you don't take a single sentence out of the Bible and turn it into a platform you can base your beliefs on. You really want to see a number of instances in the Bible before you hang your hat on a given belief.

There is nothing positive stated about homosexuality in the Bible, Old or New Testament. Christ comes into the picture and His preaching is based heavily on love. However, He doesn't deny the accuracy of the Old Testament; in fact, He confirms its accuracy a number of times in the New Testament. He does discuss quite heavily, love.

My interpretation of all that is as follows: It is important to preach God's love to the world and the need to love our fellow human beings, no matter the sin being committed. It is a beneficial and positive thing to advise others of the wrong they are committing in life. And, we, including homosexuals, fall under that umbrella. Nothing states to harm them or hurt them; the exact opposite is implied. However, and this is important, it is best not to hang out with them, other than explaining how to get to learn about God's laws, or do things that might imply acceptance of their acts.

Now I am absolutely the first to admit there are gray areas within the Bible. That is not to imply the Bible is wrong; it is merely to say I fail to understand everything that is being said.

I totally believe the accuracy of the Bible. The fact that I cannot understand all of it just means exactly that, I fail to understand it all. I don't know how a rocket gets us to the Moon but yet we do go to the Moon.

There is a lot of negative commentary in the Bible surrounding homosexuality. And, very serious words against the act. It would be fair to say there are zero positives.

Now, as to whether the words within the Bible are the words of prejudiced men or the words of God. The Bible clearly states the Bible was written by men under the inspiration of God. Therefore, the word are true.

As I ended my previous commentary on this subject, I could be wrong in my interpretation. But at the end of the day I personally have no doubt as to the accuracy of the Bible whether I'm capable of understanding it all or not. And, I'm willing to bet the farm on it.

There's more to be said about this subject but time to end this round of commentary as I imagine Lee and Patrick are not trying to run a Bible study. It is my sincere hope that I have shed some hopefully intelligent light on this controversial subject. In the end love the people who perform the acts you hate.

Luke Adams's picture

But photographing a wedding isn't exactly the same as baking a cake or renting out a wedding tent, is it? As a photographer, you're directing the couple into intimate and romantic moments to help celebrate their love. You're not just a passive part of their day, but a very active one.

I respect your viewpoint that you're offering a service, not a condoning of the event, and I tried to think like that for a while too. Then I realized, it was really just a justification, and all I needed to do was push that line of thinking a little further to see it fall apart. Child-bride wedding? Polygamous wedding? Satanic or Pagan wedding (yes, I was asked to shoot one recently)? Would you perform those weddings under the same train of thought that you are just performing a service?

The error in much of these comments, is that people think the photographer's refusal is about the gay/lesbian/etc. couple - but it's not. Honestly, I wish these couples the best, and I support their right to do what they please and seek marriage regardless of my views. What it is truly about is my beliefs, and being forced to compromise, participate, and profit from an event which goes against my convictions.

Deleted Account's picture

One would think that if Christians have the right to discriminate against others then others should have the right to discriminate against Christians.

I don't think "freedom from discrimination" means what she thinks it means.

Billy Walker's picture

Will, it's not "Christians" who are "discriminating". Assuming the right heart it is Christians following what they believe to be God's laws. See my 2nd commentary to go into greater detail.

Deleted Account's picture

"Christians who belive they are following gods law" are Christians.

Given that you are Christian it is hardly surprising that logic is alien to you.

Billy Walker's picture

You are correct Will... the logic is alien to me. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving!!

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