MADISON, WI – “This is a huge win for free speech in Wisconsin,” said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action. “As our good friends at Alliance Defending Freedom keep reminding everyone, no one should be threated with punishment for having views that the government doesn’t favor.”
Earlier this year Amy Lawson, a professional photographer and blogger who works out of her Madison home, filed what is known as a “pre-enforcement challenge” lawsuit against the City of Madison and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, alleging that the city’s public accommodations ordinance and the state’s public accommodations law prohibit her from conducting her business, Amy Lynn Photography Studio, according to the dictates of her conscience and beliefs. Lawson argued the ordinance and law even force her to use her creative expression in support of activities she doesn’t agree with, including same-sex marriage and abortion.
Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard Neiss determined in yesterday’s court hearing in the case Amy Lynn Photography Studio v. City of Madison that he would resolve the matter by issuing an order that declares Amy Lawson and her home-based business are not subject to the city’s public accommodations ordinance or the state’s public accomodations law. Both the state and the city agreed to this resolution.
Appling commented, “What this decision means is that creative professionals in Wisconsin and in Madison, those who like Amy don’t have storefronts, have the freedom to determine what ideas they will promote using their artistic talents. In other words, the City of Madison and the State of Wisconsin can’t punish these professionals for exercising their freedom of speech artistically, even if the city or state disagrees with what they are saying.”
Amy Lawson and her photography studio were represented by attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom.
The court has not yet issued the order but that is expected to happen in the near future.
Wisconsin Family Action is a statewide organization engaged in strengthening, preserving and promoting marriage, family, life and religious liberty in Wisconsin.
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