Artist’s fight for artistic freedoms off to good start

Freedom of Religion buttonA Christian photographer and blogger can operate her business according to her faith – for now, at least.

Chelsey Nelson believes in traditional marriage between one man and one woman, but the city of Louisville, Kentucky has a law requiring anyone who offers services to straight couples to also do so for same-sex couples.

“Instead of waiting for a complaint to be filed against her, she went to court asking the court to weigh in now and tell her that she has this freedom that she and all artists do,” reports attorney Kate Anderson of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the law firm representing Nelson.

Friday, a federal district court issued an order that halts enforcement of the Louisville law against Nelson while her artistic freedom lawsuit moves forward in court. The court also denied the city’s request to throw out the lawsuit.

“It’s not just my freedom at stake; it’s everyone’s,” said Nelson in a video on the ADF website. “When the government can come in and tell you what to do, what to say, what to create, then we do not live in a free America. Artists should be free to choose which messages they promote.”


“If the government has the power to force her to violate her convictions, it can do the same thing to other people,” Anderson adds.

The Louisville law also forbids Nelson and her studio, Chelsey Nelson Photography, from publicly explaining on her studio’s own website or social media accounts the religious reasons why she only celebrates wedding ceremonies between one man and one woman.

According to ADF, Louisville wrongly considers such “communications” as indicating that services will be denied because of sexual orientation. The court’s order halts enforcement of that part of the law against Nelson as well.

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