Amy Lynn Photography Studio v. City of Madison
Description: A sweeping Madison, Wisconsin, ordinance and a state law force commissioned creative professionals to promote messages that violate their beliefs. For example, a Madison-based speechwriter who opposes President Trump would be subject to severe punishment if she refused to write a speech for him. Under these same laws, Amy Lawson and her company, Amy Lynn Photography 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. Combined, the laws also forbid creative professionals from posting a statement on their website explaining that the artist reserves discretion not to use their artistic talents to promote messages or causes that are inconsistent with their deepest convictions, even though business owners in these professions frequently decline projects for these reasons.
Court solidifies victory for photographer, other Wisconsin creative professionals
“The court’s judgment has vital implications for everyone in Wisconsin who values artistic freedom. The court found—and the city and state have now agreed—that creative professionals without storefronts can’t be punished under public accommodation laws for exercising their artistic freedom because those laws simply don’t apply to them. It means that government officials must allow such professionals anywhere in the city and state the freedom to make their own decisions about which ideas they will promote with their artistic expression. The court’s orders bring this case to a close, and we are pleased that Amy and many other artists in Madison and throughout the state can pursue their work without fear of government censorship.”
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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Jonathan Scruggs serves as senior counsel and vice president of litigation strategy and the Center for Conscience Initiatives with Alliance Defending Freedom. In this role, he identifies new litigation opportunities and develops new strategies for protecting free speech and religious liberty in collaboration with the chief legal counsel and litigation team directors. As the leader for the Center for Conscience Initiatives, Scruggs oversees the litigation team defending the rights of professionals and business owners to live out their faith as well as the litigation efforts to protect equal opportunities for women in athletics. Since joining ADF in 2006, Scruggs has worked on and prevailed in a variety of cases that protect the right of people to freely express their faith in their business, at school, and in the public square. He earned his J.D. at Harvard Law School and is admitted to practice in the states of Arizona and Tennessee. Scruggs is also admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court and multiple federal district and appellate courts.