In today’s News:
Wedding photographer fights state law
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is arguing today in federal district court in a Virginia photographer’s lawsuit against state officials. The lawsuit challenges a state law, enacted July 1, 2020, that forces Bob Updegrove to use his artistic talents to photograph same-sex weddings if he photographs weddings between one man and one woman. As explained in ADF’s complaint, that law violates foundational rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution, including the First Amendment’s Free Speech and Free Exercise clauses. ADF attorneys have asked the court to enter an injunction halting enforcement of the law against Updegrove while his lawsuit proceeds, and the state has moved to dismiss the case. The law also forbids Updegrove from publicly explaining on his studio’s own website the religious reasons why he only celebrates wedding ceremonies between one man and one woman. Virginia considers such communications “discriminatory.” The law threatens initial fines of up to $50,000 and then $100,000 per additional violation, along with court orders that could force Updegrove to photograph events against his conscience if he wants to stay in business.
School district considers posting Ten Commandments
A North Carolina school board is exploring the possibility of putting Ten Commandments displays near the entrances at each of its school buildings, a possibility that has upset a secular legal group. The Cleveland County School Board first discussed the idea at its Dec. 14 board meeting, drawing support and criticism in the last week from opposing national First Amendment legal groups. Supporters of the measure contend that displays of the Ten Commandments on school grounds are permitted by North Carolina law, as long as they are accompanied by other historical displays. advocates for a strict separation of church and state, sent a letter to Cleveland County School District attorney Colin Shive. In the letter, Freedom From Religion Foundation threatened legal action against the school district if the push to erect the Ten Commandments displays at its schools was not scrapped.
State’s abortion law challenged by women’s group
Women in New York filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging a radical pro-abortion law that legalizes abortions for basically any reason up to birth in the Empire State. The class action lawsuit argues that the New York Reproductive Health Act, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2019, puts women in danger and violates the fundamental rights of women and children, including unborn babies who can survive outside the womb. Along with expanding late-term abortions, the law repealed criminal charges for killing an unborn baby even in a violent criminal act against the mother. In the lawsuit, victims of domestic abuse slammed New York for denying them and their children justice, the Catholic News Agency reports.
Pro-life student group wins suit
Oregon’s Chemeketa Community College has settled a federal lawsuit with a pro-life student group by agreeing to pay $25,000 to cover the cost of legal fees and end a policy confining free speech to a small area of campus. The Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal group representing the Chemeketa Students for Life, announced the settlement last Friday. Before the settlement, which is dated Nov. 10, the college limited outdoor free speech in two small areas of campus. According to the legal group, the taxpayer funded school’s policies restricted the free speech rights of students to just 1.5 percent of the school’s 100-acre campus.