Supreme Court rules against Colorado in case that pitted religion against LGBTQ rights

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the First Amendment prevents Colorado from compelling a web designer to create content contrary to her beliefs.

The Case: The issue arose regarding Colorado-based web designer Lorie Smith who wanted to create custom wedding websites but felt that Colorado’s public accommodations law, requiring her to serve all customers regardless, violated her belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
* The state’s Attorney General argued that the law doesn’t dictate what Smith designs, but merely requires public-serving businesses to serve all of the public, regardless of sexual orientation, religion, race, or gender.

Contrasting Views: This legal clash intertwines freedom of speech with equal rights, specifically concerning business owners who consider their work a form of self-expression and do not agree with certain messages.
* Smith has created websites for gay and lesbian clients for other services but stays firm in her belief about marriage.
* She also stated having refused her services to others desiring to convey messages she disagrees with.

The Court’s Decision: Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority, said that the state’s coercion of Smith to express messages against her beliefs comprises an infringement of her First Amendment rights.
* According to Gorsuch, the state forces Smith to either express views contrary to her own or face penalties, which could include compulsory training, compliance reporting, and fines—an inadmissible limitation of the right to free speech.

View original article on NPR

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