The often-stated argument from the LGBTQ movement demanding same-sex marriage in 2015 was, “It doesn’t affect you.” They asked the rhetorical question, “Why do you care?”
This is why: Another Christian professional is in court defending her right to free speech and to live and work according to her deeply held beliefs because she declined her creative services for a same-sex wedding. This, in addition to Christian photographers, florists, bakers, and others sued in an effort to force them to defy long-standing and widely held beliefs about human sexuality and marriage, and ultimately violate their conscience and their religious beliefs.
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if Lorie Smith, owner of 303 Creative LLC discriminated against a same-sex couple when she declined to use her creative talents in celebration of a marriage her conscience and her faith could not sanction. Center for Arizona Policy joined 14 other family policy organizations in signing an amicus brief on her behalf. Our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom are representing Lorie Smith.
Our argument: Lorie Smith cannot be compelled by the State of Colorado to create a message by designing a wedding website in violation of her faith. It reminds the Court the First Amendment’s protection of free speech finds its worth in unpopular speech, shielding Americans from government suppression.
The cultural pressure to conform can be intense and difficult to endure, but it allows for disagreement. It is an entirely different scenario when the pressure comes from the government. The brief reads, “It is the state that wields the power of the sword. It is the state that can bar entrance into the marketplace of ideas. It is the state that can dictate whether a citizen can open a business or earn a living. Thus, it is the state that is the eternal threat to liberty. Only the state can truly suppress the American idea.”
Smith is a graphic artist and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals deemed her “creation of wedding websites was pure speech.” So, the Supreme Court must decide if Colorado’s nondiscrimination law can trump Smith’s rights and “force her to say things she does not believe.”
Marriage is a sacred union in many religions and the religious should not be compelled to bow to a government’s redefinition of a sacred bond.
The brief states clearly the heart of many of these cases, “For this artist, a same-sex union does not represent God’s plan for marriage, and it is thus wrong for her to lend her talents to celebrate a union that her religious beliefs reject. She does not refuse to serve gay customers. She only refuses to use her talents to celebrate or transmit messages that she finds morally objectionable.”
It goes on to list corporations that do the same. From Twitter’s permanent suspension of President Trump, the National Football League’s threat to move the Super Bowl if Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Walt Disney’s pressure on Georgia to veto the same, and famous designers who refused to dress Melania or Ivanka Trump.
At the time, “designer Sophie Theallet said, ‘As an independent fashion brand, we consider our voice an expression of our artistic and philosophical ideas.’ And another designer, Naeem Khan, asserted: ‘A designer is an artist, and should have the choice of who they want to dress or not.’”
The designers make our point. The Court, too, in W. Va. State Bd. Of Educ. V. Barnette in 1943 when it set a precedent by upholding the First Amendment rights of students who did not want to be compelled to pledge allegiance to the flag during a bitter military war. Our brief asks the Court to stand by Barnette during a bitter culture war.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich joined several other attorneys general in signing another amicus brief on behalf of 303 Creative. In it, they argue the Colorado law violates the First Amendment and cites, among other examples, Arizona’s Supreme Court decision in Brush & Nib Studio, LC v. City of Phoenix. The court ruled the artists could not be compelled to craft custom wedding invitations that violate their consciences.
The attorneys general point out that Smith’s “pure speech” is protected, “Because Smith speaks through her custom design work, Colorado cannot force her to address the topic of same-sex marriage – let alone to ‘express approval and celebration’ of same-sex marriage.”
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- Students For Life is planning a pro-life rally for the Saturday after the Dobbs decision comes down – likely this month. Read here for details.
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