The Supreme Court held that a Colorado graphic designer who wants to make wedding websites does not have to create them for same-sex marriages, in a landmark decision that pit the interests of LGBTQ non-discrimination against First Amendment freedom.
In a 6-3 decision issued Friday, the high court ruled in favor of artist Lorie Smith, who sued the state over its anti-discrimination law that prohibited businesses providing sales or other accommodations to the public from denying service based on a customer’s sexual orientation.
Smith said the law infringed on her First Amendment rights by forcing her to promote messages that violate her deeply held faith.
The case, 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, drew national attention as it featured competing interests of the First Amendment right to free speech and non-discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
The law, known as the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA), prohibits businesses providing sales or services to the publics from denying services to someone based on their identity. Supporters of CADA claim that the law is necessary to keep businesses from discriminating.
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Smith has maintained throughout the case that she has no problem working with the LGBTQ community, just not for gay weddings.
“I think it’s important for people to understand that I love and welcome the opportunity to work with all people. My case has never been about choosing which client to work with, but about choosing the message that I’m being asked to promote,” Smith told Fox News Digital in a March 2022 interview.
Smith has said that she faced threats throughout the duration of her case.
“I’ve had my home address put on social media, I have received many threats — death threats, threats of bodily harm,” she said in December. “The security system on my home, my child’s school has been on alert. I’ve lost business, my clients have been harassed and my website… people attempt to hack into it, almost regularly by the hour.”
Despite this, Smith said she did not regret going to court.
“The right to speak freely is guaranteed to all of us, and that’s been hard at times,” she said. “While it has come at a cost, it’s a right worth protecting.”
This is the second time CADA has been at the center of a Supreme Court case. In 2018, bakery Masterpiece Cakeshop won a case where owner Jack Phillips refused to design and create cakes specifically for gay weddings.
That case did not rule on whether the law itself violated the First Amendment for free speech or religious reasons, as they held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had anti-religious bias in enforcing the law against Phillips.