A U.S. appeals court ruled against a Colorado web designer’s refusal to make a marriage website for a same-sex couple, further reinforcing the state’s anti-discirmination law, according to court documents.
Lorie Smith’s attempt to uphold what she regarded as her right to deny services that contradicted her religious values was struck down by a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court for violating Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act, stating that “a faith that enriches society in one way might also damage society in [an]other.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who represented Smith, released a report chiding the lower court’s 2-1 decision.
UPDATE: Web designer will appeal after 10th Circuit says Colorado can force her to create objectionable websites
ADF: First Jack Phillips, then Barronelle Stutzman, now Lorie Smith; how many more?
— Alliance Defending Freedom (@AllianceDefends) July 27, 2021
“The government should never force creative professionals to promote a message or cause with which they disagree. That is quintessential free speech and artistic freedom,” said ADF Senior Counsel John Bursch.
Bursch outlined the array of cases that Colorado has uniquely seen, including the Supreme Court’s decision on baker Jack Philips’ same-sex wedding cake case. Baker, who already took his case to the nation’s highest court, was sued again in March following his refusal to make a gender inclusive cake.
“Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips has been harassed for years; Washington floral artist Barronelle Stutzman stands to lose nearly everything she owns; and now Lorie Smith is being told that she must speak views she opposes and can’t post about her beliefs on her own business website,” Bursch complained. “How many more creative professionals will have to suffer before they receive recognition of their constitutionally protected freedoms—the rights they have always had in this country?”
The ADF labeled the decision as “unprecedented” and highlighted 10th Circuit Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich’s dissent in the ruling. (RELATED: Hawley, Cruz, Lee Call For Supreme Court To Overturn Roe v. Wade)
“The Constitution neither forces Ms. Smith to compromise her beliefs nor condones the government doing so,” he wrote.
Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act is the same law used twice against baker Jack Philips.
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