The Supreme Court has taken up the case of a Colorado Web designer who doesn’t want to build wedding websites for homosexual couples, and who claims anti-discrimination laws violate her First Amendment rights, Forbes reports. The case is likely to have significant impact on laws set up to give special protections to and force acceptance of homosexuals and “transgender” people.
Lorie Smith is a Coloradan and Web designer who says she is in business to create content “consistent with her faith,” according to court documents. This would include wedding websites that do not run in opposition to “her understanding of marriage.”
An appeals court ruled against Smith in July 2021 and dismissed her claims on the basis that Colorado must protect its homosexual and transgender citizens from discrimination, even if it means revoking the rights of others and even though gays are completely free to simply shop elsewhere and not patronize businesses like Smith’s.
The case could also affect the 2018 Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling, another Colorado case about the same anti-discrimination law in which justices ruled that a bakery owner who declined to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples was treated unfairly by Colorado’s civil rights commission because a commissioner was hostile to religion, violating the First Amendment’s condition that governments be neutral on that subject.
The Supreme Court stopped short of ruling on his constitutional claim based on free speech. Since that 2018 ruling, the confirmations of Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — both Trump appointees — have made the court less liberal and less friendly toward special rights for homosexuals.
Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act would require her to create websites “celebrating same-sex marriage,” her lawyers say, and bars her from putting a statement on her own website about creating content that is consistent with her religious beliefs. The law violates Smith’s rights to free speech and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment, her legal team asserts.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case in the fall.