Virginia last week said a Loudoun County photographer who filed a federal lawsuit against the state’s nondiscrimination law can refuse to photograph same-sex weddings.
Bob Updegrove in 2020 filed a federal lawsuit that challenged the Virginia Values Act, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ legal group who represents Updegrove, on its website said the law that took effect on July 1, 2020, “forces him to use his artistic talents to photograph same-sex weddings if he photographs weddings between one man and one woman.” The Alliance Defending Freedom further notes the Virginia Values Act “violates foundational rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution, including the First Amendment’s Free Speech and Free Exercise clauses.”
A Nov. 3 filing with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond notes the state will not “force” Updegrove “to offer or provide photography celebrating same-sex weddings.” It also refers to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 303 Creative ruling in favor of Lorie Smith, a Colorado graphic artist who refused to make wedding websites for same-sex couples, even though the state’s nondiscrimination law bans discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The Alliance Defending Freedom represented Smith in her case.
Republican Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares was among the defendants named in his Nov. 3 filing with the 4th Circuit.
Washington Blade courtesy of the National LGBTQ Media Association.