Colorado asks Supreme Court to uphold antidiscrimination law

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Colorado’s attorney general is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the state’s antidiscrimination law after a Denver-based graphic designer claimed the right to refuse custom wedding website services for same-sex couples. with the US Supreme Court.

This fall, the Supreme Court will hear a case filed by Lorie Smith, a Denver-based evangelical Christian web designer. She wants to expand her 303 Creative business to include a wedding website, but doesn’t want to because she’s against same-sex marriage. Design a gay marriage website. She also wants to put a message on her website explaining her decision not to do so. Colorado law prohibits public corporations from discriminating against homosexuals and from declaring intent to do so.

A court has said it plans to hold a hearing in February, ruling that the state’s public lodging law violates an individual’s freedom of speech when it requires businesses to provide equal service to all customers. We plan to determine whether

Whether it’s designing a custom wedding website featuring Bible verses or designing a custom wedding website featuring Bible verses, Smith says marriage is “a lifetime between one man and one woman.” She is free to decide whether or not to express her view that the But we need to make our services available to everyone.

Under Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, public companies are prohibited from rejecting customers based on their sexual orientation, race, or religion, Attorney General Phil Weiser said at a news conference on Friday. rice field.

“We know that in the past, people were excluded from accessing businesses, goods and services because of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity,” Weiser said. “That exclusion would do real harm to the state’s economic vitality and both our commitment and our practical experience of equal treatment before the law.”

Smith maintains that it is part of her “religious duty” to explain her religious beliefs regarding marriage on her website and to prospective clients.

Girlfriend filed a lawsuit in Colorado in 2016 over anti-discrimination laws, hoping to stop them from being enforced. The US District Court for the District of Colorado ruled against her in 2019, and when she appealed, the 10th Circuit upheld the court’s decision.

Smith alleges that state law violates her right to free speech. Not, Weiser said.

“Because discrimination is not an expression, it is an illegal act,” he said.

With the Supreme Court on Smith’s side, the ruling sets a precedent that could create loopholes in antidiscrimination laws that allow discrimination based not only on an individual’s sexual orientation, but also on an individual’s religion, race, and ethnicity. Weiser said it could get lost. He said.

“Retreating from it would be a dangerous and highly problematic step and we believe the courts would take the consequences of such actions seriously,” he said.

According to Smith’s attorney, Jake Warner, Smith has served LGBTQ clients in the past, but the government should not force artists, including Smith, to create websites that go against their beliefs. Absent.

“This case is about the right of all Americans to say what they believe without fear of government punishment,” said Warner, a conservative Christian advocacy group based in Arizona. Said with an Alliance Defending Freedom.

“We expect the U.S. Supreme Court to decide Lowry because her victory protects the liberties of all Americans, including those who disagree with Lowry on some of life’s biggest issues. It’s from.”

The Supreme Court will review the case in its next term beginning in October. The court has not yet set a date to hear the case.

This came about four years after the Supreme Court ruled that Colorado baker Jack Phillips refused to make custom cakes for same-sex couples, arguing that making the cakes violated his religious beliefs. It was conducted.

The lawsuit stems from a dispute in 2012 when Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, refused to make a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins. The couple then filed a discrimination complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation under Colorado’s antidiscrimination law.

After a civil rights agency ruled that Phillips had unfairly discriminated against him, the cake shop owner filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court. Phillips won a partial victory when the High Court said the Colorado Commission acted with anti-religious prejudice against Phillips. However, it did not rule on the broader issue of whether a business can raise religious objections to deny service to LGBTQ people.

Although the lawsuits are similar, Smith’s claims about her wedding website are more closely aligned with free speech protections, said Masterpiece Cakeshop, who represented a gay couple in a Supreme Court ruling. Attorney Paula Greisen said.

“And the question really is: Will this new Supreme Court honor its precedent? Are you going to let me choose?This is a very dangerous and slippery slope.

“I don’t know that there is a reasonable distinction between discrimination against the LGBTQ community and discrimination based on race, so I would be worried if they started scraping those protections,” she said. doing.”

The Supreme Court’s decision hearing Smith underscores its willingness to reconsider whether antidiscrimination laws of all kinds are restricted by the First Amendment, said Scott, a law professor at the University of Colorado Law School. Skinner Thompson said.

Skinner-Thompson, who teaches constitutional, civil rights, sexuality, and gender identity, said that with a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, there is a good chance the Supreme Court will rule in favor of 303 Creative, and as a result, the existing He said anti-discrimination laws could be overturned. by law.

“This is a court that is ready and ready to overturn a lot of established laws,” he said, adding a constitutional end to the long-protected abortion rights under Roe v. Wade. pointed to the Women’s Health Agency’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson to revoke the protection of

“That could really undermine 50 plus, almost 60 years of civil rights legislation in this country,” he said. “So this is not just a case about same-sex marriage, it’s about all kinds of discrimination laws.”


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