Christian website designer appealing to Supreme Court against law forcing her to create content against religious beliefs
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A Christian web designer in Colorado is appealing to the US Supreme Court after a 10th Circuit Court ruling that state anti-discrimination law requires her to create wedding websites for same-sex couples against her religious beliefs, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) reported. The case is the latest to address whether there is a First Amendment right to deny services to LGBTQ people or whether this amounts to discrimination.
Lorie Smith owns 303 Creative, a business that designs websites. In 2016, ADF filed suit against Colorado on Smith’s behalf, challenging a state law that would force her to create websites for events such as same-sex weddings, in violation of her beliefs. The law also prohibits Smith from explaining on her website that she only produces content that is consistent with her religious views.
The Smith case progressed and, in July this year, the 10th Circuit Court ruled 2-1 that the state can force her to produce content against her conscience. Judge Mary Beck Briscoe wrote in the majority opinion that “we must also consider the grave harms caused when public accommodations discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. Combatting such discrimination is, like individual autonomy, ‘essential’ to our democratic ideals,” Newsweek reports.
Commenting on the 10th Circuit ruling, ADF general counsel Kristen Waggoner told Newsweek: “As the dissent rightly recognizes, it stunningly openly omits they are going to compel the written word and the state has the power to force artists to express messages that violate their core convictions. That transcends the issue of same-sex marriage and it ends any concept of maintaining a pluralist nation that is truly tolerant of good faith differences of opinion.”
ADF said in a statement on September 24 that Smith will be appealing to the US Supreme Court to determine whether artists can be forced to speak in violation of their beliefs.
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