Supreme Court to Adjudicate Colorado Graphic Designer’s Free Speech Fight in Same-Sex Marriage Case
Can the government force a web designer to create gay marriage sites against their religious beliefs?
That’s the question the U.S. Supreme Court will hear on December 5, in what could turn out to be a “landmark ruling for free speech,” according to the designer. legal representation.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represents Lorie Smith, owner of 303 Creative, a web design company. Smith’s legal battle with the state of Colorado revolves around Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, which “prohibits public businesses from discriminating against LGBTQ people or announcing their intent to do so,” according to SCOTUSblog.
ADF said Smith “defied the law to protect his freedom and his art studio.”
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Smith said his speech was being censored and the state was asking him to violate his beliefs, such as denying his company the right to reject gay marriage website applications.
“I recognize that not everyone has the same view as me on marriage, and that’s okay because what I’m asking the court to do is protect the rights of those people as well. To protect their right to think and speak freely.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled against Smith in July 2021. However, in February the Supreme Court granted a petition for review.
This is not the first time that this Colorado law has been debated in the Supreme Court. In 2018, a 7-2 decision favored Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, who refused to bake a gay wedding cake due to his religious beliefs.
The Supreme Court ruled that the free exercise clause had been violated, but declined to address the free speech issue in the case, “because the violation of free exercise was so clear”. according to ADF. The Smith case will again bring the issue of freedom of expression before the Supreme Court.
In a editorial co-authored by Smith and Phillips, they explain that the court “will answer the question: Does a state have the right to compel you to express ideas that violate your deepest personal beliefs?
“We hope for all of us that the High Court will say ‘no’ and rule in favor of free speech, ensuring that Colorado and every state respects and makes room for everyone’s beliefs. After all, that is what the Constitution and equality before the law require.