Equality vs. Free Speech
The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Monday to determine if a Colorado graphic designer has a First Amendment right to refuse to create websites for same-sex marriages due to her religious beliefs, The New York Times reports. The plaintiff, Lorie Smith, is challenging a state law that forbids businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation.
Smith, the owner of 303 Creative LLC, wants to expand her business to include wedding website services but hasn't moved forward due to fears that she would be violating a Colorado public accommodations law. Smith only wants to portray marriage "through God's lens" and would like to clarify that she won't portray LGBTQ couples. Smith argues that Colorado's anti-discriminatory law violates her right to free speech. She is open to working with same-sex clients on other projects but draws the line at art that goes against her religious principles.
"The state of Colorado is forcing me to create custom, unique artwork communicating and celebrating a different view of marriage, a view of marriage that goes against my deeply held beliefs," Smith told CNN.
Smith initially claimed that the Colorado law violated her religious freedom, but when the Supreme Court agreed to take her case in February, the justices declined to hear that argument. Instead, they decided to limit its review to whether or not the state's Anti-Discriminatory act violates the First Amendment protection of free speech.
Specifically, the justices will be reviewing "whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment."