Supreme Court to weigh whether web designer may refuse services for same-sex weddings

Supreme Court
(Image credit: Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

The Supreme Court is set to take up a case concerning whether a Colorado web designer may decline to provide her services for same-sex weddings.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear the case, in which a Christian web designer, Lorie Smith, said she would refuse to create websites for same-sex marriages, the Los Angeles Times reports. Her attorneys said she is "willing to work with all people regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, and gender" but that she "cannot create websites that promote messages contrary to her faith, such as messages that condone violence or promote sexual immorality, abortion, or same-sex marriage."

Smith sued over Colorado's law prohibiting businesses from discrimination against gay people, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled against her, with Judge Mary Beck Briscoe writing that Colorado "may prohibit speech that promotes unlawful activity, including unlawful discrimination," The New York Times reports.

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The Supreme Court is now set to consider Smith's appeal and weigh "whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment."

The case is reminiscent of that of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to make cakes for a same-sex wedding. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in his favor. But CNN analyst Steve Vladeck noted at the time that the court's decision in that case was "remarkably narrow," failing to set a precedent and leaving "for another day virtually all of the major constitutional questions that this case presented."

The Lorie Smith case is set to be heard during the court's next term beginning in the fall.

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