Report: "Christian photographer sues Virginia over law that may force him to service gay weddings."

The new law “forces Chris to provide photography services for same-sex engagements or weddings and would require Chris to promote messages that violate his religious beliefs or require him to participate in religious ceremonies that violate his religious beliefs,” reads the suit in part…”


This is just stupid. There is no sin in taking photos of a gay wedding, at least none that I know of. Neither would it be for an illicit straight one, or a bigamist straight one, etc. Or to provide clothing, catering, etc. People make a deal out of nothing. Doing such services doesn’t imply that one believes anythkng. Taking photos at an Orthodox wedding doesn’t imply schism for instance. This is not a hill to die on. A public business services the public (whoever constitutes that).


It’s the nature of some of the services at a wedding that what’s provided makes a statement about the event. I can understand how some service providers might not want to be involved with some kinds of events. Should they have no rights to decline an event out of this concern?


So, is there nothing you would refuse to participate in at your job because of your religious views?
I am not sure why you think people should be forced to provide services for things that are against their beliefs.


People have the right to refuse service to anyone that they don’t want to serve. It shouldn’t matter what the reason is. It’s a free country.


If the participation isn’t sinful, I wouldn’t refuse. I don’t think providing services for illicit and false marriages is sinful though, and it is done all the time anyway. Not just talking about gay marriage. I also don’t think it is sinful to provide services similar to these for sinful relationships, like taking an anniversary photo for fornicators who aren’t married, or catering to an event that celebrates them in this way.

1 Like

You didn’t answer my question though.


I meant to answer when I said: if the participation isn’t sinful, I wouldn’t refuse. Like, helping set up the lighting for a play which is about and promoting another religion or contrary worldview is against my religious views, but the act isn’t sinful.

1 Like

It’s very unnerving, entirely discouraging, and highly unpleasant to see gay people kissing each other on the lips, and for that reason alone a photographer should be able to “just say no.” And participating in their “wedding” is sinful.

. . . .


Just out of curiosity would it be possible to circumnavigate these laws by saying your services are for Protestant, Catholic, orthodox, etc. etc. and make it a very long list?

Also Some businesses say “no shirt no shoes no service” or “we have the right to refuse service at any time for any reason”.

1 Like

Do we want to go that far in defending personal rights? A restaurant that declined to serve Hispanics - would we stand up for that restaurateur’s rights? I suspect societies will want to draw a line somewhere.


If a photographer didn’t do nude photo services, this wouldn’t come up at all. If a photographer didn’t do wedding services, this wouldn’t come up at all. It is only discrimination within what one claims their business is for that is the issue.

1 Like

It’s good to see someone fighting back against the ongoing attempts by those in government to force people to do things they are opposed to (which is a form of slavery.)

If said restaurant is not subsidized by the government, absolutely, even if the reason is morally objectionable. If people do not agree with their policy, they can choose to patronize another restaurant.

If it is subsidized by the government, it should not be allowed to discriminate against anyone on the basis of sex, religion, etc.


I think most people want a line to be drawn somewhere. But if the line is going to be erased, if it’s going to be all one way or the other, then it has to be a right to refuse service, not a right to be served.

1 Like

Except the litigant WANTS to do normal traditional wedding photography and is FORCED to do the other kind.

It will most definitely come up. There are gay people targeting religious photographers to win lawsuits.

It is only a matter of time before our WANTS, DESIRES, and BELIEFS have no bearing because of the Marxist thinking of government bodies. You should be fighting for freedom of association.


This is my issue as well. In the cake bakers case the baker would have sold them a cake from his shop. He just didn’t want to make a special cake for their wedding with two people of the same sex on it. The government is forcing you to do something outside of your faith.


It seems reasonable to allow the photographer to opt-out of assignments generally, since the customer will find no shortage of alternative service providers. And I believe the law does allow photographers to opt out widely, but not when the reason falls in a specific set of reasons (anti-discrimination laws). So religious convictions have been demoted in this debate.


Not meaning to jump into a rumpus, but it seems to me that participating in rituals is something no one should be forced into (especially when a ritual is forbidden in one’s religion).

A wedding is a ritual laden with meaning, not just a random event like a summer picnic. And the photographer plays an important role in commemorating and framing as beautiful the ritual in question; the photographer’s job inherently ‘celebrates’ the ritual he memorialises. I can imagine how a wedding photographer might feel unable, in their conscience, to ‘celebrate’ this ritual by attending, witnessing, and commemorating it in such a way that the pictures spread a false image of beauty about a practice they consider spiritually destructive.

I mean the following question in the spirit of sincere casual conversation, not as a ‘gotcha’:

Have you considered how your opinion might change if the photographer was legally forced to serve at a suicide ritual? That’s not a made-up thing (although those who undergo it don’t call it that). I’m speaking of euthanasia as practiced at Dignitas clinic in Sweden, or as sometimes practiced in my country (Canada). I don’t believe it’s always ritualized — maybe it’s only the minority that get ritualized. But retaliation does happen. By ritual here I mean varied and personalized things like gathering friends and family together for a party, final meal, photos, then during the actual euthanasia injection sequence, pseudo-spiritual language like “I’ll see you on the other side, Martha,” and after death, performing ritualized actions for family like opening the door and saying “I’m just letting Martha’s soul leave.” Anyway, you get the picture.

My point is, in my country and some others, citizens have a legal ‘right’ to euthanasia, and sometimes ritualize it. And I don’t think inviting outside photographers is currently a thing (when I’ve heard of photos I’ve usually assumed it’s with a family camera)… but what if it becomes one? Should event photographers be legally compelled to ‘serve’ by witnessing and commemorating a suicide ritual?

Even if it’s a far-fetched example, what’s the meaningful difference between that and witnessing and commemorating a commitment-to-sexual-sin ritual? From the Catholic point of view, I mean. Obviously from a secular point of view the state calls multiple things ‘marriage’ and ‘wedding’ and thinks that if someone calls themselves a ‘wedding photographer’ that obligates them to serve for rituals falling under whatever definition the state imposes.

Anyway. I don’t know. Maybe the answer is to cease calling oneself a ‘wedding photographer’, and to call oneself a ‘Catholic and Christian events’ photographer or something.


I don’t think that’s a possibility - the photographer does not hold himself out as a photographer of suicides or of “any” event - more likely he holds himself out as a “wedding photographer”. And even if that’s not the case, those intending suicide are not in the class of persons that anti-discrimination laws seek to “protect”.

See my speculation at the end of my previous comment then, about maybe whether such photographers should start more carefully listing themselves as “Catholic and [XYZ] event photographers”, to avoid the state continually redefining their job description.

In my country they are. At least, anti-discrimination laws were among those used to force legalization of euthanasia in my country (on the grounds that some people are so physically disabled they can’t kill themselves by normal suicide (long since legal), and they need outside ‘help’ to effect their suicide). And anti-discrimination rhetoric is used to push for expanding euthanasia ‘access’ to new groups all the time, like the disabled, minors, the mentally ill. And conscientious objection rights even for doctors are fiercely debated, as allowing doctors to object may restrict Canadians’ ‘access’ to a ‘service‘ the government declared they have a right to.

“Event photographer” is a far-fetched service to imagine anyone demanding at a suicide, I’d agree… But the point of my hypothetical wasn’t whether it’s plausible. The point was to use an extreme hypothetical that presumably we all see clearly on, to suggest we then apply the same lens to other rituals.

Rather than looking through the false lens of the state’s linguistic game that ’You called yourself a wedding photographer! And then we changed the definition of what ‘wedding’ means! So now you have to change the range of activities you’re willing to celebrate and memorialize, even if your religion teaches that one of the activities is gravely harmful for those involved.’

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit