Pride Month Ends With LGBT Activists Losing SCOTUS Compelled Speech Case

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Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
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LGBT Pride Month festivities were dampened Friday when the Supreme Court ruled that Colorado’s anti-discrimination law could not be used to compel a Christian graphic designer to create websites for same-sex weddings.

The ruling comes at the tail end of a month-long streak of losses for LGBT activists, including widespread consumer pushback against corporations’ Pride celebrations. Web designer Lorie Smith sued over a Colorado anti-discrimination law banning public accommodations from restricting services based on sexual orientation, and the Supreme Court ruled that the law cannot be used to force her to design websites for same-sex marriages in violation of her religious beliefs; such compulsion would violate the First Amendment, the majority ruled Friday. (RELATED: LGBT Activists Say ‘We’re Coming For Your Children’ Chant Is Just Misunderstood)

“The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands,” the decision read.

Numerous activist groups filed amicus briefs in this case arguing against Smith’s right to refuse to create content she finds objectionable, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

LGBT activists were quick to denounce the decision as an attack on gay and transgender rights. The ACLU characterized the decision as allowing businesses to turn away customers in defiance of nondiscrimination law and called it a “direct attack on our civil rights laws,” and the Human Rights Campaign called it a “dangerous step backward” that “gives some businesses the license to discriminate.”

In reality, the decision does not allow individuals to turn away customers on the basis of their sexual orientation, but rather blocks the government from forcing individuals to create content they find objectionable. Smith is “willing to work with all people regardless of classifications such as race, creed, sexual orientation, and gender,” and she “will gladly create custom graphics and websites” for clients of any sexual orientation, according to the majority opinion.

Even before the Supreme Court decision, Pride celebrations were subject to backlash.

A boycott of Bud Light over the company’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney resulted in sales falling about 30% from this time last year. Bud Light lost its longstanding spot as America’s bestselling beer and in some locations is cheaper than water.

After the Bud Light blowback began, Target entered the spotlight for its Pride collection which featured a women’s bathing suit with a feature for “tucking” one’s penis, alongside Pride-themed clothing for babies and children. Target lost $9 billion in market value in the second half of May amid boycotts and removed Pride displays in some stores.

Parents have protested LGBT lessons for young school children in June, and in some cases the students themselves have objected as well. Students at a Massachusetts middle school tore down Pride banners and chanted “USA are my pronouns” June 2, and male students at an Oregon high school responded to the addition of tampon dispensers to their schools men’s restrooms by repeatedly throwing the dispensers in the toilets.

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