A Colorado web designer has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court after a federal appeals court ruled this summer that she must create websites for same-sex marriages if she offers her services to d ‘other marriages.
Lawyers representing Lorie Smith of 303 Creative in Denver are request The nation’s highest court has reviewed the July 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that his company must provide services for same-sex marriages if it offers services for traditional weddings.
“The government should not use the law as a weapon to force a web designer to speak messages that violate his beliefs” noted Kristen Wagoner, general counsel for the Defending Freedom Alliance, a legal organization representing Smith that has won several religious freedom cases in the Supreme Court.
“This case involves freedom of expression and artistic freedom par excellence, which the 10th Circuit has dangerously rejected.”
Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) prohibits businesses and public accommodations from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Smith filed a pre-application court challenge in 2016, claiming the law is unconstitutional because it would require him to set up marriage websites for same-sex couples against his religious beliefs.
The web designer has sought to start building wedding websites, but is unwilling to provide this service for same-sex marriages as she believes that God designed marriage to exist only between a man and a woman.
“For starters, Lorie wanted to get into the wedding website industry for years and lost opportunities to create and speak because of the way Colorado interprets CADA,” the petition told the court. supreme. States. “She has already received a request to create a website celebrating a same-sex marriage, and Colorado continues to threaten lawsuits.”
Creative website 303 includes a notice that explains that Smith is “selective about the messages” she creates or promotes because of her Christian faith.
“As a Christian who believes that God has given me the creative gifts that are expressed through this business, I have always strived to honor it in the way I operate it,” the website bed.
A federal court ruled in 2017 that Smith could not challenge the law, a ruling that was upheld in a later ruling.
In July, the 10th Circuit ruled 2-1 against Smith’s appeal with a majority opinion drafted by Clinton-appointed Judge Mary Beck Briscoe.
“Colorado has a compelling interest in protecting both the dignity interests of members of marginalized groups and their material interests in entering the commercial market,” Briscoe wrote.
“When regulating business entities, like the appellants, public housing laws help ensure a free and open economy. Thus, while the commercial nature of the appellants’ activities does not diminish their interest in speaking, it does give Colorado an absent state interest in regulating non-commercial activities. “
On a press call with reporters, Smith said she had clients ranging from individuals to small businesses and nonprofits.
“I have served and continue to serve all people, including those who identify as LGBT,” Smith said. “I am simply opposed to being forced to pour my heart, imagination and talents into messages that violate my conscience.”
When Smith began her career, she quickly recognized that the freedom to express her religious beliefs was limited. Therefore, she couldn’t be selective about who she worked with, according to Alliance defending freedom.
Smith started his own business to be his own boss, the legal group reported.
After giving birth to her first child, she spent time with her baby and started 303 Creative. Being her own boss has allowed her to “pursue web and graphic design projects in line with her faith, including many projects on behalf of religious organizations and churches.” She often produces original artwork, personalized websites including text, graphics, images and more that promote ideas, events or organizations.
“Although I serve anyone, I am always careful to avoid imparting ideas or messages, or promoting events, products, services or organizations, which are incompatible with my religious beliefs,” Smith wrote on his website.
The order issued by the 10th Circuit prevents Smith from putting notes anywhere on her webpage about the type of websites she won’t create. If she does not comply with the law, Smith could be subject to prosecution under the CADA.
ADF argues that the 10th Circuit ruling contradicts “the 8th and 11th Circuits, as well as the Arizona Supreme Court, which have all ruled that the government cannot force artists to speak in violation of their beliefs.”
ADF lawyer Wagoner argues that “the 10th Circuit’s reasoning overturns free speech protections by saying that the more ‘unique’ the speech, the more the government can force it to do.”
“This kind of dangerous and unconstitutional reasoning is why we asked the United States Supreme Court to take Lorie’s case,” Wagoner said.
In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Colorado Christian baker Jack Phillips, who was state sanctioned for refusing to provide a personalized wedding cake for a same-sex marriage.
But earlier this year, the High Court dismissed an appeal from a Washington Christian florist who was fined for refusing to provide flower arrangements for the same-sex marriage of a long-time client.