By James Smith
The Alliance Defending Freedom is back in the headlines again, and it's just what they wanted. The Christian law firm that appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center's page of anti-gay hate groups is representing a Christian photographer, and sued the city of Madison, Wisconsin because she didn't want to work with same-sex couples.
On Tuesday, the ADF said they won their case, but legal experts will have to weigh in to decide if the Christian law firm should have brought the case at all.
"Amy Lawson is a 25 year-old evangelical Christian who seeks to honor God in everything she does, creates, and says," the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents many clients who refuse to work with same-sex couples who are marrying, writes in a press release on its website.
"A commissioned photographer and blogger, Amy is the sole owner of Amy Lynn Photography Studio, which offers visual storytelling services to clients on a commission basis. In addition to taking and editing photographs for individuals, events, and organizations, Amy posts those photographs on her studio’s blog and social media sites. She also writes comments on those posts praising and celebrating each client’s activity or event. Amy’s posts can be seen on the studio’s blog, Facebook page, and Instagram account."
In short, the ADF sued Madison and Wisconsin over "a sweeping local ordinance and a state law that force commissioned creative professionals to promote messages that violate their beliefs."
Except it doesn't.
In its press release announcing its win, the ADF admits that the law did not apply to Lawson, because she does not have a storefront business. Lawson operates her photography business from her home, and the law specifically is applicable to places of public accommodation.
Kind of a no-brainer.
And in fact, Lawson wasn't being sued for refusing to follow the law, which, again, did not apply to her.
But ADF has made a business out of pushing the cases of supposedly victimized Christians whose deeply held religious beliefs they believe force them to not perform the functions of their chosen careers for same-sex couples. Florists like Barronelle Stutzman, bakers like Jack Phillips, and farmer Steve Tennes. In fact, here's a photo from ADF's Facebook page, of some of their clients:
So, back to Amy Lawson.
The ADF in a press release states the Dane County, Wisconsin Circuit Court announced "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."
Seems like a no-brainer, right?
Maybe ADF should have advised its client, rather than sued?
But then, how would they have stayed in the headlines? The lied in their representation to the client and then lied in claiming victory. However, in the Age of Trump I guess even the Evangelicals are now using Alternative Facts.