The ruling forcing a web designer to create objectionable websites will be appealed by the 10th Circuit.
A Colorado web designer is appealing a verdict by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that dismissed her challenge to the state’s anti-discrimination law, which forces her to develop wedding websites for same-sex couples despite her religious views.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit found 2 to 1 that the state had the authority to force Lorie Smith of studio 303 Creative to build and publish websites that promote statements that are contrary to her personal religious convictions. Smith also couldn’t indicate on her company’s website what kinds of websites she can make that are in line with her ideas because of the statute in question.
The three-judge bench reversed a lower court judgment that had dismissed Smith’s previous legal challenge, stating that Colorado had a compelling interest in safeguarding the “dignity interests” of members of marginalized groups through its law.
Smith’s lawyer, the non-profit Alliance Defending Freedom, has argued and continues to fight that the statute forces her to violate her First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and speech.
Kristen Waggoner, ADF’s general counsel and lead counsel in the lawsuit supporting Smith, called the court’s judgment “unique” and stressed the importance of free expression in this case. She claimed that her client is fighting not just for herself, but also to “ensure that all Americans can peacefully coexist.”
Waggoner told This website, “As the dissent rightly acknowledges, it astonishingly plainly omits they are going to compel the written word and the state has the ability to force artists to convey messages that contravene their deepest principles.”
“That transcends the issue of same-sex marriage and puts a stop to any notion of a pluralist nation that is truly accepting of genuine differences of opinion.”
“Creative workers should never be forced to endorse a message or cause with which they disagree. In a statement, ADF’s senior lawyer John Bursch added, “That is quintessential free expression and artistic freedom.”
The anti-discrimination law in question is the same one that was at issue in a previous case involving baker Jack Phillips. After Phillips declined to bake a cake for two men who were gay, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was found to have acted with anti-religious bias by the United States Supreme Court in 2018. This is a condensed version of the information.