Students Stumped Over Whether Christian Photographers Have Right to Decline ‘Gay Weddings’

MADISON, Wisc. — Students who were recently interviewed at the University of Wisconsin (UW) in Madison appeared to be stumped when faced with the question as to whether or not Christian photographers have a right to decline to shoot events that conflict with their beliefs.

The religious liberties organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) recently visited UW to ask students if they believe businesses should have the right to turn away an order if it conflicts with their beliefs.

A representative from ADF began by asking students if they believed designer Sophie Theallet had a right to decline to dress Melania Trump.

“Yeah, why not?” one student answered.

“You should be able to control your business in that regard, yeah,” another opined.

“So, you have the right to opt out of business that you might not want to associate yourself with?” ADF asked.

“Yes,” the student replied.

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ADF then presented a hypothetical situation where a professional singer who holds to Muslim beliefs is asked to perform at a church. Could he turn down the event because he does not want to be associated with Christianity?

“Yeah, you have the right to opt out of doing whatever you [don’t] want,” one student replied.

“I would feel like if I was Muslim, it would be hard to work with someone [that wasn’t],” another stated.

“Yeah, if that goes against your religious views, I feel like [you should] turn it down,” a third remarked.

ADF then asked if it would be right to enact a law forcing citizens to perform work that violates their beliefs, and all those in the video replied that they disagreed with such a requirement. Therefore, ADF presented another scenario.

“So, let’s say you’re a Christian photographer here in Madison and someone approaches you to do a same-sex ‘wedding.’ Would that be hateful or discriminatory to opt out of that?” he asked.

The students suddenly weren’t so sure.

“I don’t know,” one replied.

“I think it’s very difficult to determine what reason it is that you make that decision unless you’re very steadfast in your religion saying, ‘No, this is wrong,'” another remarked.

“That’s such a sticky issue,” a third said.

ADF said that the responses show that everyone agrees that businesses have the right not to have their name associated with a subject matter that conflicts with their convictions—-that is, unless it clashes with a hot-button social issue.

“Everyone agreed that a creative professional should have the foundational freedom to decline work that conflicts with their conscience and beliefs. But, when faced with a situation that conflicts with current cultural expectations, like a Christian photographer declining to promote a same-sex ‘wedding,’ the gears start grinding,” ADF explained.

“If a law forces that someone to promote something that’s against their beliefs is so laughable, so unimaginable, then why is it so difficult to extend that same freedom to a Christian creative professional?” it asked.

The video, posted to YouTube, has generated over 350,000 views as of press time.

 


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  • Grace Kim Kwon

    The Westerners discriminate against Christians and limit Christians’ freedom. Christians are singled out for bullying in the West. It is a fact.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    If Western whites are really sorry for enslaving colored people before, they should not demand Christians to serve homosexuals or transgenders this century. It was a slavery by racism then, and it is slavery by sexual depravity now. It’s a disaster for colored Christians to face the Western pervs this century. Colored people got equality with the white people only a few decades ago, now we are going to be bullied by the same people for refusing to serve their mentally ill homosexual sin.

    The West should not become so evil this soon; they should have waited to be this rotten 500 years later or something. Rich powerful pervs are a real disaster upon the planet. Western white pervs and their mental slaves should give mankind some break, really. Equality was short-lived because Post-christian Western whites applied racial equality upon sexually sinful people. What a pathetic civilization. The West always need Christianity to do things right.

  • james blue

    A self employed person should be able to do or refuse to do business with whoever they wish for whatever reason they wish. A self employed Christian photographer should be able to refuse to do gay weddings and a non Christian should be able to refuse goods, services, employment etc to Christians.

    On the other hand if a christian photographer is employed by a company that does cater gay weddings, he should do the gig or seek employment elsewhere. Employers should not be forced by law to make accommodations for our faith. It’s nice that employers do make accommodations, but they should be forced to by law.

    • Grace Kim Kwon

      Christian employees should be able to keep God’s truth and a clear conscience for all time everywhere. That is true freedom. The government bodies and companies should give all of their employees religious freedom to refuse to serve immorality.

      • james blue

        They do have religious freedom to refuse, they can quit and find a job that doesn’t conflict with their faith.

        • Grace Kim Kwon

          The culture itself is evil. The culture must not press anyone to do immorality. Everyone anywhere should be free to jeject to serve immorality. People should not be made to live to serve immorality; that’s a slavery to sin.

          • james blue

            Nobody is. You have the right to not do a job that forces you to violate your faith.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            USA fines and jails those who refuse to serve homosexuality and gets away. Your culture has deadly defects.

          • james blue

            Erm no.

            Companies are fined for breaking big government anti discrimination and public accommodation laws, the same laws that make it illegal to refuse goods and services to Christians.

            Not one person has been jailed for refusing to serve homosexuals. If you are referring to Kim Davis, she was jailed for contempt of court.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Being Christian is good and upright and moral, and being homosexual is sinful and immoral. Western culture has gone wrong by equating good and evil. Also, today’s Western whites are the worst kind of racists to put colored people and sexually sinful people in the same category to rant the establishment of abnormal immorality in the land.

            Gay West will always have conflicts unless it bans Christianity and the Holy Bible, yet that diminishes the life and truth and freedom and goodness altogether. This is the fact about today’s Western Europe and America. Secular Western whites and their mental slaves should not bully the Christians for opposing the homosexuality. You Westerners have lost your wits altogether by losing Christianity. The West has nothing good apart from Christianity, as a man lives only for evil without his conscience.

      • Ron Duncan

        From a Libertarian perspective, James Blue is completely correct. The issue is the government to force a person’s opinion on every one else.

        I believe that you should be able to contract or not contract with whomever you want. If you go to work for a private employer, you perform according to their standards, not your own. Now, if you contract with said employer and agree upon an included religious accommodation clause, that would be valid as well.

        • Grace Kim Kwon

          The Western culture and its servants should treat homosexuality and transgenderism as a sin as it is instead of normality. The West equates heinous sexual sins with neutral matters, and that’s the problem. At this rate, only immorality-enforcing individuals could occupy the high places in the society, and morality-enforcing people would be second-class citizens and subdued. In that kind of society, no one can find out who is conducting live human experiments poisoning the mass because moral people alone are honest. A society has no freedom or equality or fairness if it does not seek the Good(Christianity).

          • Ron Duncan

            Don’t misunderstand my point – I more strongly believe in a Libertarian society because each person’s individual liberties are upheld and protected – this includes freedom of religion and freedom of speech. This also means a right to assemble and protest, etc.

            The point is to keep the government out of it, and instead let people do things by persuasion instead of the government forcing one side over another. This means that the “immoral individual” doesn’t get to take away the rights of the “moral person” because they hold equal status.

            It is fair in that regard because nobody would have the right to another person’s life, liberty or property (thus no live human experiments, unless those being experimented on have willingly given up their rights) And any crimes against humanity will still be spoken against.

            In a libertarian society, I can still speak forth the gospel, and another person can disagree with me – but that other person doesn’t get to take away my freedoms because i do so.

            As far as evil goes, the Bible shows that because of sin, the Law will not stop people from engaging in sin, and yes, what is Good will not come about unless people’s hearts are changed towards Christ – but a key difference here is that God doesn’t use force to follow Him, and I believe that while a limited government is necessary, one that acts on force (like levying fines on a baker who won’t make a cake for a same sex wedding) is not a government interested in upholding liberty for all.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Yes. It is abnormal and evil that the authorities force people to serve something immoral. Only evil nations do that, but the USA is not designed to be evil. Why should anyone be punished in the USA for refusing to make cakes or flowers for a sinful activity? Totally absurd and insane. The pervs should feel sorry that they cannot give up the depraved sins and are visible.

            Americans are deceived by the words “legal.” What is legal but evil must be rightfully rejected by anyone anywhere anyhow legally such as addiction to drugs and alcohol. It is unacceptable that the Western whites equate the colored people with sexually depraved people this century and demand people to serve the sins unconditionally.

    • Michael C

      Hi james blue, As we both understand, your beliefs are in opposition with decades-old civil rights laws. I think it would be helpful to other readers for you to acknowledge this fact.

      In your comment, you mention that you oppose laws that protect people from discrimination on the basis of their religion and sexual orientation. Do you also oppose those laws that protect people on the basis of their race, color, national origin, and sex? Do you oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in total?

      • james blue

        I’m sure plenty of my opinions go against established laws, just as many of yours do. Just because something is law doesn’t mean one cannot have an opposing opinion to it…..right?

        That’s a loaded challenge. If it came from anyone else I would suspect it’s an attempt to equate believing in the right to do something to approving doing it.

        I’ll engage you on this as I’ve read enough of your comments to know you are a thinking debater. You’ve also read enough of mine to know exactly my train of ideological opinion on this subject and I’m taking your word on this that you wish me to explain to others, not yourself.

        It’s important to start off by stating that I find people who would discriminate based on race, gender, sexuality, religion etc. repugnant, but as with free speech I will defend your right to say things I find repugnant.

        The civil rights act question – I agree with the intent it seeks to achieve, but not the tactic in its’ entirety. it should apply 100% to government. In law you should be entitled to the same protections and benefits government offers.

        Where I disagree is when it is forced onto the private sector. What I agree with in the CRA is things like voting rights and removing laws that required segregation. A private restaurant shouldn’t be required to have separate counters. What I object to is laws requiring integration in the private sector. Now I wouldn’t eat in a restaurant that separated and would hope few to none would, but I don’t think government should be forcing it.

        My views regarding the CRA in the private sector are the same as my views on free speech– I may find what you say repugnant, but I believe in your right to say it and think it important to protect that right.

        It’s easy to believe in free speech when it’s popular speech, but if we try to outlaw unpopular speech we lose the right to free speech and tomorrow it could be your speech banned. I apply the same logic.

        If we make it impossible to live by your faith or personal beliefs in the private sector we lose freedom of religion and conscience not just for people of faith, but for people without faith. I’m not going to insult your intelligence by suggesting it would a pretty thing, but I believe the private sector should be free to run by the values of the owners and let the market deal with them.

        I probably could have written this in more detail to explain the nuance, but most people would refuse to entertain it

        • Michael C

          Just because something is law doesn’t mean one cannot have an opposing opinion to it…..right?

          Absolutely. However, they way your comment was presented seemed (at least to me) as if it was a “common sense” legal explanation rather than an opinion that is contrary to law.

          I appreciate your response and I respect your opinion. As is obvious, I just disagree =)

          My fear is that your stance on civil rights laws as they apply to businesses is disserviced when not presented with the proper scope. Many Christians might be fine with the idea of being refused service by a public accommodation because they’re the favored majority. Most Christians would feel differently, however, if you asked them whether or not businesses should be permitted to refuse employment, housing, and service at stores and restaurants to Jewish or black customers.

          Even when I disagree with your opinions, I always find value in your comments. You have an amazingly powerful voice. I have total respect for your opposition to civil rights laws as they apply to non-government businesses. I just wish you would more fully illustrate the scope of those beliefs in your comments.

          • james blue

            The way my comment was presented”? My deliberate and constant use of the word “should” rather than “do, is, are etc.” Doesn’t convey I’m giving an opinion of how I think things should be rather than how they are?

            I suspect I’m a tad older than you and don’t have as many projected years left as you do and while many people like to read more into a comment than actually written you’ll have to forgive me, I cannot spend too much time going over every scenario. I feel I make my comments on point and to the point of the specific subject and I’m always happy to answer queries about my stances.

            I feel comfortable in my stance as I hold it across the board even for things I do not approve of and even when it would be more convenient to put that stance aside.

  • parquet

    Madison, the San Francisco of the Midwest. Scary to think these nitwits will one day be the opinion-shaping elites in America.

    • Michael C

      Wisconsin is one of the minority of states that prohibits businesses from denying housing, employment, and public accommodations (service at stores and restaurants) on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation. This type of discrimination is actually still totally legal in the majority of the United States. Wisconsin was actually the first state in the country to prohibit discrimination against their gay citizens about 35 years ago (long before these kids were alive).

      Apparently, these kids are at least somewhat aware of how their state laws works.

      • Jason Todd

        Okay. Here we go again:

        1) Should a person be given rights above and beyond what’s granted them by the US Constitution based on their sexual behavior?

        2) Should a business owner be able to choose their own clientele without government interference?

        • james blue

          Do you view the US constitution as a document to protect freedom and liberty or a document to justify limiting it?

        • Ambulance Chaser

          1) Yes, when the Constitution doesn’t go far enough.

          2) Yes, unless his/her “choosing their own clientele” is part of a widespread, invidious, institutionalized form of discrimination.

        • Michael C

          1) Should a person be given rights above and beyond what’s granted them by the US Constitution based on their sexual behavior?

          You, as a Christian, have been granted the “right” to not be refused employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of your religious beliefs not by the Constitution, but instead by local and federal laws. This “right” to be protected from discrimination is not granted to you by the U.S. Constitution but instead by statute.

          Non-discrimination laws as they apply to private housing, employment, and public accommodations are not derived from the Constitution.

          2) Should a business owner be able to choose their own clientele without government interference?

          If you’re asking for my opinion, I would say that discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations should be limited. Personally, I support laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I support laws that protect you from being fired from your job, or refused a place to live, or denied service at stores and restaurants on the basis of your race, or religion, or sex, or national origin, or sexual orientation, or gender identity, etc.

          If you disagree with our laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, that’s fine, too. Contact your local representatives.

          • Jason Todd

            1) Evasion. Answer my question.

            2) No. The question doesn’t call for that. There’s only one answer for it, and the answer is yes. A business owner should be able to serve whom they bloody well please and the government should stay out of it. Period.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            So there’s basically only one right answer: yours. Anyone who disagrees with you is, by definition, wrong.

          • Michael C

            1) Evasion. Answer my question.

            Local and federal laws can define rights that are “above and beyond what’s granted [us] by the US Constitution”.

            For example, the Constitution prohibits the government from enacting laws to abridge our right to the free expression of our personal religion. However, the Constitution does not require other citizens to respect our personal religious beliefs. Any law that prohibits businesses from discriminating against you on the basis of your religious beliefs is “above and beyond what’s granted [you] by the US Constitution”. The Bill of Rights is not the total sum of our rights as U.S. citizens.

            Now, you seem to be asking whether or not people “should” be protected from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation. “Should” it be illegal to deny people housing, employment, and public accommodations just because they’re gay? I say yes.

            2) No. The question doesn’t call for that. There’s only one answer for it, and the answer is yes.

            This was your original question;

            “Should a business owner be able to choose their own clientele without government interference?”

            This is not a yes or no question. This is a personal opinion question.

            You oppose laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I support them. These are differing opinions. Neither one of them is “correct.” If you were to take a poll, I’m guessing that most Americans appreciate the fact that nondiscrimination laws exist.

          • Jason Todd

            1) Too bad, Eugene. Sexual behavior is just that, and entitles you to nada. If you wish to believe otherwise, you are cordially invited to pound salt.

            2) As the person who asked the question in the first place, I can assure you it was intended wholly to provoke a yes or no answer.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            “You oppose laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I support them.”

            I doubt Jason opposes the 1964 CRA anymore that I do. What we oppose is YOU adding to what the CRA does not say. Typical. It’s what Liberals do. It’s the old tell a lie often enough, long enough, and loud enough and people will begin to believe it. Well, not here.

            “These are differing opinions. Neither one of them is “correct.””

            Wrong again. There is right and there is wrong. The Liberal “to each his own” Only works so long. Right up to the point where it is one’s own daughter that’s forced to shower with some dude. Then folks wake up and realize there is right and there is wrong.

          • Jason Todd

            The 1964 Civil Rights Act is not even relevant to this conversation. It was meant as a distraction.

          • Michael C

            You brought all nondiscrimination laws (including the Civil Rights Act of 1965) into this conversation by saying things like this;

            “A business owner should be able to serve whom they bloody well please and the government should stay out of it. Period.”

            You either believe this statement to be true and you oppose all nondiscrimination laws (including the Civil Rights Act of 1964) or you were “just kidding” when you said this because you actually do support the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

            You can’t, however, hold both opinions simultaneously.

          • Jason Todd

            No, I said what I meant, and I meant what I said. The government should not be forcing anyone to serve people they don’t want to.

            It goes like this: If a Christian photographer doesn’t want to serve homosexuals who want their same-sex wedding photographed, then the couple should take their wants and needs elsewhere. If the couple wishes to take to social media and say they were denied service by the photographer, that is their right to do so and if others decide to boycott that business that is their right as well.

            For the last and final time, I do not care about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as it is in no way relevant to any part of the conversation. YOU wish to make it so by bringing it up, and only because you think the government should be forcing people like the photographer in this story to serve people who choose to define and identify themselves by their sexual behavior.

            Your behavior entitles you to nothing. Is there any part of that you do not understand?

          • Michael C

            No, I said what I meant, and I meant what I said.

            Got it. You totally believe that businesses should 100% be able to serve or not serve “whom they bloody well please” without government interference. Period.

            …but you also believe that we should totally have laws like The Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prevent businesses from being able to serve or not serve “whom they bloody well please.”

            Thanks for that clarification.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Yeah, it’s a typical tactic of the Enemy and his minions. Deception, Delusion, Distraction, and Denial. It’s all they have. Btw, if you wanna see a terrific, and almost comical, example checkout the Tucker Carlson video at DCstatesman dot com where he interviews a Dem on what a Transgender is. It’s textbook!

          • Michael C

            I doubt Jason opposes the 1964 CRA

            “A business owner should be able to serve whom they bloody well please and the government should stay out of it. Period.” – Jason Todd

          • Johndoe

            Nope. Pure opinion but little else

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            The 1964 CRA does NOT mention whatsoever sexual orientation or gender identity or whatever your “etc.” is. The 1964 CRA does NOT protect any sort of BEHAVIOR.

            Nice try at Deception and Distraction again though.

          • Michael C

            The 1964 CRA does NOT mention whatsoever sexual orientation or gender identity…

            Jason Todd asked me if I believed that a business owner should be able to choose their own clientele without government interference.

            I don’t believe that a business owner should be permitted to discriminate without government interference. I believe that the government should prohibit certain types of discrimination. The government does this with legislation like The Civil Rights Act of 1964.

            If a person believes that businesses should be able to choose their own clientele without government interference, it naturally follows that they oppose laws like The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other local nondiscrimination laws that protect people from discrimination on the basis of various characteristics or classes.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            “I believe that the government should prohibit certain types of discrimination. The government does this with legislation like The Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

            Good. Then we agree. The 1964 CRA does NOT protect sexual immorality and therefore Homosexuals, Transgenders, Adulterers, Pedophiles, folks that practice Bestiality and a host of other deviant behaviors like Catwoman, Parrotman, Tigerman, and Alien Boy are NOT a protected class.

            And, for the record, I would lean toward Jason’s POV in keeping Gov’t outta things and let the free market dictate. As he said, if a Homosexual can’t get a Christian to photograph their activity then let ’em take it to social media and boycott the business. The people will decide from there.

  • Michael C

    This is just more evidence that ADF doesn’t care about the law, they only care about public perception. They are behaving like a PR firm for anti-gay religious groups. They’re not behaving like a legal group.

    They are intentionally presenting misleading scenarios in the attempt to equate legal and illegal discrimination. If they cared about the law, they would be explaining how it works, not attempting to deceive the uneducated.

    What they should have been asking is this;

    “So, let’s say you were a wedding photographer here in Madison and and interfaith or interracial couple approached you and asked you to photograph their wedding. …but your strongly held personal and religious beliefs were in opposition to interfaith or interracial marriage. Should it be legal for your public accommodation to deny service to a customer on the basis of their religion or race?

    …how about their sexual orientation? Is that an acceptable excuse for discrimination?”

    • Trilemma

      When the wedding photographer is working as an independent contractor then the photographer should have the right to decline an offer of employment from anyone for any reason.

      When the photographer is working in a studio open to the public, offering standard photo packages shot in the studio at standardized prices, then the photographer should not have the right to discriminate.

      • Michael C

        The tricky part is how “studio open to the public” is defined. If a photog lacks a brick and mortar but their website advertises services to the general public, I think they might still be considered a public accommodation. Do you know if different states have different ways of defining a public accommodation or if it’s universal?

        The wedding photographer issue has only come up once in New Mexico and ADF lost that case and ended up appealing all the way to the Supreme Court (who chose not to hear the case).

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      This is just more evidence that ADF doesn’t care about the law, they only care about public perception. They are behaving like a PR firm for anti-gay religious groups. They’re not behaving like a legal group.”

      I imagine if you were to ask the ADF they’d tell ya that your god-complex and faux omniscience that comes with it is way off base and they happen to actually care not only about the Law but about the People it is there to protect. Strike one.

      I imagine they would also tell you that YOU don’t get to decide what a legal group gets to behave like. Strike two. Oh, and be sure to trot right on out and say the same thing about Gloria Allred the next time she takes to the cameras. Strike two.

      “They are intentionally presenting misleading scenarios in the attempt to equate legal and illegal discrimination. If they cared about the law, they would be explaining how it works, not attempting to deceive the uneducated.”

      LOL! The arrogance and ineptness in your empty rhetorical polemics is truly laughable. If you want to be taken seriously you really should check your god-complex at the door. I imagine most folks who come here are pretty confident that God hasn’t chosen to share His omniscience with YOU and YOU have NO idea what they are “intentionally” trying to do. Strike three.

      Batter Out!! You just broke Murray’s Rule, Alexander’s Rule, Gillespie’s Rule A & B.

      Too bad for you the video actually speaks for itself and a whole lot more accurately, truthfully, and undeniably that you do.

  • Omnicopy

    Just rebuke them in the Name of Jesus Christ, get out of my life

  • J J

    They’ve been brainwashed to believe that homosexuals’s feelings matter but Christians’ don’t. Ironically, they’d also tell you that they are in favor of “equality” and “tolerance.” SJWs are totally blind to their own hypocrisy.

    • Chris

      Because Christians are persecuted when they don’t have the right to persecute others?

      The fact is a ‘public’ business may not legally discriminate against some of its customers. That’s why minorities in your country have civil rights.

      • Amos Moses

        “That’s why minorities in your country have civil rights.”

        so an “out of town” expert on local matters ….. thnx ……… depravity is a minority for a reason …… it is depraved ………..

        • Royce E. Van Blaricome

          “your country”. You took the words right outta my mouth. He deserves a Plato Award. Feel free to pass them on when applicable.

          “Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools speak because they have to say something” – Plato

  • C_Alan_Nault

    Trust in the Lord Jesus

  • michael louwe

    IOW, the liberals of the Blue States are hypocrites.
    ……. They just wanna pander for the LGBTQ-vote, like how they have been pandering for the votes of the Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Muslims, feminists, unions, poor folks, etc since the 1960s.

  • Richard T.

    It was never about “equality” or fairness or justice. It was always about pushing their God-hating agenda. Anything that is against God will be pushed and favored. So trying to understand it from a “normal” perspective doesn’t work. The “equality” slogan is just a cover for the God hating agenda they are pushing.

  • Chet

    Of course photographers have the right to abstain from the ceremony, such as it is, just as invitees have the right to not show…