The Center for Religious Expression (CRE) filed an amicus curiae brief on January 29, 2020, asking the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to protect a Christian website designer from being forced to design websites and write words promoting same-sex weddings and other messages inconsistent with her faith.
Lorie Smith owns and operates a Colorado-based business called 303 Creative, through which she personally designs websites. While she is willing to cerate websites for anyone, her Christian faith and conscience do not allow her to create websites promoting same-sex weddings, among other things she considers immoral.
However, Smith’s freedom to select the messages she wishes to promote through website design is in jeopardy. Colorado enforces its Anti-Discrimination Act to force individuals to celebrate same-sex weddings whether they like it or not. The propriety of this governmental compulsion – creating a conflict with earnestly-held beliefs – is directly before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, who will decide whether the State can legally force Lorie Smith to write words promoting same-sex weddings.
As CRE’s amicus brief explains, Colorado’s use of the Act to force a particular message is prohibited by the First Amendment. The selection of what words to say – and which not to say – lies at the heart of First Amendment protection. CRE is asking the Tenth Circuit to join other courts and hold that an anti-discrimination law cannot be wielded to force creative professionals to produce words betraying their consciences.
“Like many others, Smith wants to use her talents to create messages consistent with her faith, but is threatened by the improper application of an anti-discrimination law,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “The First Amendment forbids the government from forcing words and messages. Free speech must be free.”
Center for Religious Expression is a servant-oriented, non-profit 501(c)(3) Christian legal organization dedicated to the glory of God and the religious freedom of His people. For more information, visit http://www.crelaw.org.