Lorie Smith’s desire to discriminate shouldn’t sway the U.S. Supreme Court


As the United States Supreme Court takes up yet another culture war issue, it comes against a backdrop of falling stature, overt conflicts of interest, and questionable behavior.

At issue this week is whether Lorie Smith, a Colorado Christian web designer, and her company, 303 Creative LLC, are required to provide wedding website design services to same-sex couples. Smith believes her Christian faith prevents her from creating websites for gay customers even though such a website would be otherwise identical to one she would design for a straight couple.

Importantly, the case presents a mere hypothetical. Smith has never created wedding websites before and does not create wedding websites for any customers, let alone same-sex couples.

Smith contends that subjecting her expressive or artistic services to Colorado’s public accommodation law would violate her right to free speech because it would require her to create messages that are inconsistent with her religious beliefs.

While it may seem sort of innocuous to many at first blush, make no mistake: this case is about future shame, and it has dramatic implications for creative expressions that extend way beyond same-sex couples and wedding cakes.

After the Civil War, states began enacting laws guaranteeing access to public accommodations regardless of race.  Colorado passed its first public accommodations law in 1885, less than a decade after it achieved statehood.  Since then states have continued to broaden these laws to prohibit discrimination based on other protected characteristics.


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