TOPEKA – (March 1, 2023) – Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach today joined a coalition of 21 states, led by Kentucky Attorney General Cameron, in filing an amicus brief before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit supporting the religious liberty and free speech rights of a Louisville wedding photographer to decline to take custom photographs at a same-sex wedding.
“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. In this case, a photographer in Louisville, Kentucky, is being forced to create images which are contrary to her deeply held beliefs,” said Kansas Solicitor General Anthony Powell. “Kansas takes the view that the government should not compel speech, particularly when such speech is offensive to the one being compelled to speak. We are joining other states in an amicus brief defending this photographer and her First Amendment rights. “
The Louisville business owner 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 the photographer to provide custom photography services at a same-sex wedding.
In the amicus brief, the coalition argues that in this case Louisville’s public-accommodation ordinance violates the photographer’s rights under the Free Speech Clause and Kentucky’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The coalition writes, “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.”
Kobach joined attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia in filing the brief.
A copy of the amicus brief is available at https://bit.ly/3y3pH9y.