In the Courts

Christian Web Designer Suing For Religious Freedom Says She’s ‘Encouraged’ After Supreme Court Arguments

Christian web designer Lorie Smith said she is “encouraged” in an interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation after the Supreme Court heard her case seeking an exemption to Colorado anti-discrimination law that would force her to create wedding websites for same-sex couples.

Smith filed a lawsuit against Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act that required her business to create same-sex wedding websites despite her religious beliefs. Smith pointed out that she had, in fact, worked with same-sex customers without issue, but that she always considers the message of what any customer is asking her to create and that “there are some messages I can’t create no matter who requests them.”

“Nobody should be punished for wanting to create a consistent with what they believe and that the right to speak freely protects not just me LGBTQ web designer who shouldn’t be forced to create message opposing same-sex marriage,” Smith noted. “So in this case, the right to speak freely is really here for all of us.”

Alliance for Defending Freedom attorney Kellie Fiedorek addressed the implications put forth by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson that siding with Lorie’s request would open the doors for more discrimination. Fiedorek called the suggestion “despicable.”

“This case is not about conduct. It’s about protecting, free speech and artistic expression, and Colorado’s claim that it can compel Lorie’s speech and force her to say something that she believes to be false violates the core of who she is it also violates the Constitution, and a win for Lori would be a win for everyone,” Fiedorek argued. “And a win for Lorie would certainly in no way allow the sort of despicable rhetoric that we’re hearing in some of the hypotheticals.”

Fiedorek also noted that Solicitor General Eric Olsen’s conflation of Smith’s case and discrimination against interracial marriage shows that “Colorado is desperate to control American speech.”

“Well, definitely, and I think Colorado has resorted to obscuring their support for government compelled speech, by deceit, suggesting that ADF’s First Amendment arguments will take us back to ugly time in our nation’s history,” she stated. “Colorado is currently attempting to compel and what ADF is standing for in this case is the free speech for everyone. Not just those the government happens to agree with.”

When asked why she filed the lawsuit preemptively, Smith explained that under current state law she was unable to operate her business in line with her beliefs.

“Well, Colorado is censoring and compelling my speech, and six years ago as I was looking around at the way the state was treating other people of faith. I, as a website and graphic designer, wanted to design custom artwork for weddings, and I was concerned that the state could treat me in a way that they’ve treated other people of similar faith,” she stated. “And I sought some legal advice from Alliance Defending Freedom and they let me know that I could be in a lot of trouble if I created consistently with my conviction.”

The Supreme Court and Olsen did not reply to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Kate Anderson

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Kate Anderson

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