High Court Hears Christian Web Designer’s Case

On December 5, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in 303 Creative v. Elenis. In this key religious liberty case, the high court will decide whether a Colorado law that bans discrimination based upon sexual orientation can compel a Christian web designer to create websites for same-sex “weddings” in spite of that web designer’s sincerely-held religious belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Web designer Lorie Smith filed a lawsuit in 2016 to pre-emptively challenge Colorado’s antidiscrimination law because she was concerned that the law could be used to punish her if she declines to create websites to celebrate same-sex ceremonies. Smith has stated that she is willing to work for customers who identify as homosexual, but that she is not willing to compromise her Christian faith by creating “wedding” websites for same-sex couples.

According to TheHill.com, the Court appeared to be leaning in Smith’s direction during the December 5 oral arguments. Attorneys for the state of Colorado reportedly “faced difficult questions from the court’s conservatives, with several inquiries focused on how a win for Colorado could burden free expression either by forcing particular speech or by chilling it.” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) President, CEO and General Counsel Kristen Waggoner, who represents Smith, argued that Colorado’s law compels Smith to engage in speech with which she disagrees. In a recent op-ed, Waggoner wrote: “[Free] speech and free exercise of religion are pre-political rights. They are an inheritance ‘endowed by our Creator.’ Preserving that inheritance is our first duty as citizens and our great privilege as those who bear the Imago Dei. It is, in the truest sense, loving our neighbor to stand fast in their defense, as the loss of these freedoms carry a real human cost.”

It is hoped that the Supreme Court will rule that the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to free speech will protect Lorie Smith from being compelled to celebrate and affirm partnerships that the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, has forbidden.