BLOGThe Weekly Digest: Wisconsin Photographer Asks Court to Halt Government Control of Artistic Expression

By James Arnold Posted on: | August 02, 2017
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Wisconsin Photographer Asks Court to Halt Government Control of Artistic Expression

 

Recently, photographer Amy Lawson and ADF attorneys argued in state court in favor of halting enforcement of a Madison ordinance and a state law against her while her lawsuit proceeds.

Here's what you need to know about the case.

Amy Lawson owns Amy Lynn Photography Studio in Madison, Wisconsin. Under the laws that ADF is seeking to suspend, Amy and her studio are required to create photographs and blog posts promoting pro-abortion groups and same-sex marriages if she creates content that promotes pro-life organizations or that celebrates the marriage of one man and one woman.

We alluded to it there, but there is something different about Amy's business than many other photographers. Not only does she capture moments (and she has an artistic eye for framing a picture, most certainly), but she also tells the stories of her clients on her blog.

Take, for example, this post on her blog from March. Amy weaves together words and images to tell the story of a happy couple expecting their first child (a girl, Amy joyfully tells the reader). Or take this post, where Amy displays the joy an infant can bring to a young family.

The Madison ordinance violates Amy's freedom to tell the stories about which she is excited. Here's what ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs, who is arguing on Amy's behalf today, had to say:

Amy is happy to take photographs of anyone; she simply objects to being forced to participate in events, or promote messages or causes, that she can’t support. Photography and writing are quintessential examples of protected artistic expression and free speech.

Ultimately, that's what Amy's case is all about. It is also what Barronelle Stutzman's case and Jack Phillips' case are about.

Now, if only people could see that these freedoms should apply across the board and political spectrum.

Update: A Dane County City Court announced at the hearing on Tuesday that it will issue an order declaring that Amy Lawson and her business are not subject to city and state laws that would otherwise control her artistic freedom because she does not have a physical storefront. Read more about it here.


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James Arnold

News and Research Manager

James Arnold manages and edits the Alliance Alert, a daily repository of news in all forms—written, spoken, or in video format.

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