TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Kansas Attorney General has announced that his office will join 21 other states in support of a Louisville wedding photographer who refused to take photos at a same-sex wedding Wednesday.
Kobach said his office will join the coalition of states, led by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, with the filing of an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in support of Chelsey Nelson.
“When the state of Colorado tried force a baker to create designs antithetical to his beliefs, so many Americans were outraged that the phrase ‘you will bake the cake’ has entered our nation’s lexicon,” said Kansas Solicitor General Anthony Powell. “In this case, a photographer in Louisville, Kentucky, is being forced to create images which are contrary to her deeply held beliefs.”
Nelson filed a lawsuit against Louisville city officials in 2019, according to the Associated Press (AP) in 2022. She argued that a city ordinance violated her First Amendment right as it could force her to take photos of same-sex weddings. Nelson opposes this due to her religious beliefs.
The AP said the Louisville ordinance prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, public accommodations and employment.
Kobach reports that Nelson has asked the Sixth Circuit to uphold a federal district judge’s ruling that protected her religious liberty and free speech rights by preventing Louisville from requiring her to provide custom photography services at a same-sex wedding.
The amicus brief filed by the coalition of attorneys general argues that Louisville’s public-accommodation ordinance violates Nelson’s rights under the Free Speech Clause and Kentucky’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“Both the Free Speech Clause and Kentucky’s RFRA apply. That means Louisville’s public-accommodation law must give way here. Louisville cannot force Nelson to take custom wedding photos for a same-sex wedding that send a message she disagrees with based on her religious beliefs.”Amicus brief excerpt
Other states that have joined the amicus brief include: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia. To read the amicus brief in full, see the document below:
Dn 42 Ky Et Al Amicus Brief by Matthew Self on Scribd