Defending the family

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Public Advocate To Appeal to Supreme Court To Defend Christian Web Designer

Lorie Smith, owner of 303 Creative, offers website design services. She wants to expand her business to design custom websites for couples planning weddings, and she wants to post a message on her website that says that she will not create wedding websites for same-sex marriages.

To prevent an enforcement action against her, represented by ADF, she sued Colorado, admitting that her intention would run afoul of the Colorado Public Accommodations Statute.

In 2017, the district court dismissed her claims against the "Accommodation Clause" which prevents businesses from refusing service for lack of standing. It allowed her challenges to the "Communication Clause" which prevents businesses from announcing they "discriminate" to proceed. In 2019, the district court ruled against her challenges to the Communication Clause.

Her claims were based on the Free Speech, Free Press, and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment, and the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

303 Creative appealed to the Tenth Circuit. On July 26, 2021, the Tenth Circuit ruled against 303 Creative, affirming the lower court. The court of appeals rejected 303's First Amendment challenges, holding that the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act has an accommodations clause which is narrowly tailored.

On September 24, 2021, 303 Creative filed a petition for certiorari (attached) with the Supreme Court, seeking review of its challenge to the Colorado public accommodations statute.

Public Advocate plans to properly file an amicus brief in support of 303 Creative's Lori Smith and our Public Advocate brief will seek to broaden the application of the ruling wider. Public Advocate will explain the flawed historical basis of these modern "public accommodation" laws. We have written similar briefs before.

The company has already appealed to the Supreme Court, and PA's brief will join the appeal to consider the case. Only four people voting in the affirmative is needed to accept for review.

The Federalist reports:

" Lawyers representing a Colorado web designer who was slapped with a gag order in July that forced her to celebrate causes she believes are wrong filed a petition to appeal the case in the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday.

Lorie Smith, the founder of 303 Creative, lost a 2-1 ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit which mandated that she create custom graphics and websites for LGBT customers despite messages that contradict her religious convictions.

"This case involves quintessential free speech and artistic freedom, which the 10th Circuit astonishingly and dangerously cast aside here," Kristen Waggoner, the general counsel for the First Amendment legal foundation Alliance Defending Freedom, which has taken on Smith's case, said in a press call with reporters. "The government shouldn't weaponize the law to force a web designer to speak messages that violate her beliefs."

The initial case was launched as a pre-enforcement challenge to Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA), the same law weaponized to go after a Denver-area cake artist for refusal to design a custom cake for a same-sex wedding and, more recently, a gender transition. The law prohibits any business that offers public services from discrimination based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Smith challenged the law after she received an inquiry for a website for a same-sex wedding but did not respond to the order to avoid violating CADA, " The Federlist reports.


Photo credit to Alliance Defending Freedom website of Lori Smith