WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear an appeal from a Colorado web designer who opposes providing services for same-sex marriage, sending judges back to the battlefield in court cases. culture wars undermine religious freedom claims against laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
The court considered the last clash in 2018, when a similar dispute between a Colorado baker and a gay couple failed to reach a definitive verdict.
The exact question the judges have agreed to decide in the new case is “whether applying public accommodation laws to compel artists to speak or remain silent violates the freedom of speech provisions of First Amendment or not.”
The court will hear the case, 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, number 21-476, for the next term, which begins October. It concerns Lorie Smith, who owns a website design company, said. they serve gay clients but intend to limit their wedding-related services to celebrations of heterosexual unions. Ms. Smith said she plans to post a message saying the company’s policy is the product of her religious beliefs.
Colorado law prohibits businesses that are open to the public from discriminating against homosexuals as well as statements declaring such discrimination. Ms Smith, who has not started a wedding business or posted the proposed statement for fear of breaking the law, sued to challenge it, saying it violated her freedom of speech and freedom to practice religion. .
A panel of three judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in Denver, adopted the most rigorous form of judicial supervision over the law, but remained the same.
“Colorado has a compelling interest in protecting both the dignified interests of members of marginalized groups and their material interests in commercial market access.” Judge Mary Beck Briscoe wrote for the majority, adding that the law was narrowly tailored to address that concern.
“To be sure,” Judge Briscoe wrote, “LGBT consumers can get wedding website design services from other businesses; however, LGBT consumers will never be able to receive wedding-related services of the same quality and nature as those provided by protestors. ”
Judge Briscoe added that “Colorado may prohibit speech that promotes illegal activity, including unlawful discrimination.”
In disagreement, Chief Justice Timothy M. Tymkovichquoted George Orwell, saying that “the majority were of the remarkable – and novel – view that the government could compel Ms Smith to deliver messages that would violate her conscience.”
“Looks like we’ve moved from ‘live and let live,'” he wrote, “to “you can’t say that.”
Lower courts have often sided with gay and lesbian couples denied service, ruling that they are treated equally, at least in parts of the country with laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Business owners who challenged those laws have argued that the government should not force them to choose between their beliefs and livelihood requirements, citing constitutional protections of free speech and liberties. religion.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/22/us/supreme-court-web-designer-same-sex-marriage.html The Supreme Court hears the case of a web designer who opposes same-sex marriage