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Web designer opposed to gay marriage at center of U.S. Supreme Court clash

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  • Web designer opposed to gay marriage at center of U.S. Supreme Court clash

    Colorado is ground zero for another First Amendment SCOTUS fight:

    Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/web-designer-opposed-gay-marriage-center-us-supreme-court-clash-2022-12-02/

    WASHINGTON, Dec 2 (Reuters) - The wedding websites that Colorado-based web designer Lorie Smith would like to create for clients might offer ceremony details, pictures, a story about the couple and a biblical quote celebrating how through marriage they "become one flesh."

    They would not, however, show same-sex nuptials.

    Smith, an evangelical Christian who believes marriage is only between a man and a woman, has taken her fight to refuse to make wedding websites for same-sex couples and to advertise that policy to the U.S. Supreme Court in a major case to be argued on Monday. Smith is appealing lower court rulings backing Colorado.

    "Colorado is compelling and censoring my speech and forcing me to design and create custom artwork that celebrates messages that go against my deeply held beliefs," Smith said in an interview. "My faith is at the core of who I am."

    Public accommodations laws exist in many states, banning discrimination in areas such as housing, hotels, retail businesses, restaurants and educational institutions. Colorado first enacted one in 1885. Its current Anti-Discrimination Act bars businesses open to the public from denying goods or services to people because of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and certain other characteristics, and from displaying a notice to that effect.

    Colorado, civil rights groups and numerous legal scholars warn of a ripple effect of discrimination against LGBT people and others if Smith wins, offering a variety of hypothetical situations. Could a commercial photographer refuse to take pictures of a corporation's female chief executive? Could a baker refuse to make a birthday cake for a Black child? Could an architect refuse to design homes for Jewish or Muslim people?

    "It's going to be very difficult for them (Supreme Court justices) to draw lines in any way that is coherent or analytically sound - particularly for lower courts to apply - that won't just be a get-out-of-jail free card because, 'I don't want to serve you or employ you,'" said Amanda Shanor, an expert in constitutional law and free speech at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

    The Supreme Court, with its 6-3 conservative majority, has become increasingly supportive of religious rights and related free speech claims in recent years even as it has backed LGBT rights in other cases. The court legalized gay marriage nationwide in a landmark 2015 decision.
    'LOVE EVERYONE'


    Smith and her lawyers maintain that she is not discriminating against anyone. She would, for example, happily serve an LGBT customer who wants graphics for an issue she supports like an animal shelter. She objects, however, to messages that contradict her Christian beliefs.

    "My faith has taught me to love everyone, and that's why I work with everyone through my business. But that also means I can't create every message," Smith said.

    Smith is represented by attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative religious rights group. The Supreme Court did not take up one aspect of her challenge to Colorado law based on religious rights also protected by the First Amendment.

    Alliance Defending Freedom previously represented Denver-area bakery owner Jack Phillips, who ran afoul of Colorado anti-discrimination law when he refused based on his Christian beliefs to make a wedding cake for two men.

    His legal battle with Colorado also reached the Supreme Court, which ruled narrowly in his favor in 2018. That decision determined that Colorado officials violated his religious rights but stopping short of carving out a free speech exemption to anti-discrimination laws.

    Smith preemptively sued Colorado's civil rights commission and other state officials in 2016 because she feared she would be punished for refusing to serve gay weddings.

    Colorado has argued that its Anti-Discrimination Act regulates sales, not speech, to ensure "equal access and equal dignity." Smith thus is free to sell whatever she wants, including websites with biblical passages stating an opposite-sex vision of marriage.

    The state warned against endorsing Smith's view of free speech protections.

    "It would encompass not only a business's objections to serving certain customers motivated by sincerely held religious beliefs, but also objections motivated by ignorance, whim, bigotry, caprice and more - including pure expressions of racial, sexist or anti-religious hatred," the state wrote in the brief to the Supreme Court.

    "All the Act requires is that the company sell its website-design services to the public regardless of the customer's sexual orientation, religion or other protected characteristic. If a customer wanted a different website, one that the company did not offer, the company need not provide it," Colorado added.

    The case raises tough questions for the court including who can be considered an artist entitled to an exception.

    President Joe Biden's administration, supporting Colorado in the case, said Smith's bid for an exemption goes too far because she seeks a right to refuse to create a wedding website of any kind for a same-sex couple, even one simply stating logistical details. The administration concedes that Colorado could not interpret its law to force Smith to create content praising same-sex marriage or stating that it is consistent with Christian teachings.

    "The government can't force Lorie and people like her to express messages that go against their deeply held beliefs," said Jacob Warner, an attorney for Smith.

    "Every website she will create will celebrate a view of marriage," Warner added.

    Smith's lawyers said the case is similar to one in which the Supreme Court in 1995 let organizers of a St. Patrick's Day parade in Boston exclude an Irish-American LGBT group.

    The Supreme Court's ruling is due by the end of June. Reuters

    © Copyright Original Source





    A thought experiment:

    If a Neo-Nazi group asked a Jewish web designer to create a site for that group, should the Jew be forced to create a website for that?

    or

    If a Christian asked a LGBTQ2IA+ web designer to create a website that noted biblical objections to homosexuality, should the LGBTQ2IA+ individual be forced to create such a website?


    If the Christian should be forced to create a website against their beliefs, why should the Jew and LGBTQ2IA+ individual should not be equally forced to create objectionable content in the name of freedom of economic participation.
    P1) If , then I win.

    P2)

    C) I win.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Diogenes View Post
    ....


    A thought experiment:

    If a Neo-Nazi group asked a Jewish web designer to create a site for that group, should the Jew be forced to create a website for that?

    or

    If a Christian asked a LGBTQ2IA+ web designer to create a website that noted biblical objections to homosexuality, should the LGBTQ2IA+ individual be forced to create such a website?


    If the Christian should be forced to create a website against their beliefs, why should the Jew and LGBTQ2IA+ individual should not be equally forced to create objectionable content in the name of freedom of economic participation.
    Or, if a White Supremist group asked a black web designer to create a site for that group....

    But it goes back again to --- why would I want to force somebody to do something for me that I knew would not be something in which they would take great pride?

    ESPECIALLY, if I forced somebody to bake a cake for me against their will... would I REALLY want to eat any of that cake!
    The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

      Or, if a White Supremist group asked a black web designer to create a site for that group....

      But it goes back again to --- why would I want to force somebody to do something for me that I knew would not be something in which they would take great pride?

      ESPECIALLY, if I forced somebody to bake a cake for me against their will... would I REALLY want to eat any of that cake!
      If there was no one else in say 50 miles, there would be a monopoly argument available. Web sites can be designed remotely. And besides, as a LGBTQ2IA+ individual, why would you want to give your money to a Christian. That would be like eating at Chick-fil-a.


      If it was me, I would do the work but use the funds to make a corporate donation to a Christian group.
      P1) If , then I win.

      P2)

      C) I win.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Diogenes View Post

        If there was no one else in say 50 miles, there would be a monopoly argument available. Web sites can be designed remotely. And besides, as a LGBTQ2IA+ individual, why would you want to give your money to a Christian. That would be like eating at Chick-fil-a.


        If it was me, I would do the work but use the funds to make a corporate donation to a Christian group.
        When I was testifying before the Texas Senate on the Religious Liberty legislation that was being proposed, there was a young homosexual man (identified himself as such) in the lobby where I was waiting, and I was just talking to him before Senate was called to order.

        He told me "I'm here to speak in favor of the bill".
        I was a bit surprised, and said, "in FAVOR?"

        He said, "yes, as much as it pains me to admit it, I was with a group of my friends last night, and they were planning on dividing a list of churches that they would visit for the very purpose of trying to schedule a gay wedding, so that they could be rejected, so that they could sue. I tried to tell them how wrong that was, and they brushed me off and continued working their list".

        I think this is that.
        The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

          When I was testifying before the Texas Senate on the Religious Liberty legislation that was being proposed, there was a young homosexual man (identified himself as such) in the lobby where I was waiting, and I was just talking to him before Senate was called to order.

          He told me "I'm here to speak in favor of the bill".
          I was a bit surprised, and said, "in FAVOR?"

          He said, "yes, as much as it pains me to admit it, I was with a group of my friends last night, and they were planning on dividing a list of churches that they would visit for the very purpose of trying to schedule a gay wedding, so that they could be rejected, so that they could sue. I tried to tell them how wrong that was, and they brushed me off and continued working their list".

          I think this is that.
          AND I might note that he was a classic example of the stereotype of a "gay guy", and I wrongly jumped to the conclusion that he was there to speak AGAINST the bill, but we were just standing there talking like old friends in spite of my alleged homophobia.
          The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

            When I was testifying before the Texas Senate on the Religious Liberty legislation that was being proposed, there was a young homosexual man (identified himself as such) in the lobby where I was waiting, and I was just talking to him before Senate was called to order.

            He told me "I'm here to speak in favor of the bill".
            I was a bit surprised, and said, "in FAVOR?"

            He said, "yes, as much as it pains me to admit it, I was with a group of my friends last night, and they were planning on dividing a list of churches that they would visit for the very purpose of trying to schedule a gay wedding, so that they could be rejected, so that they could sue. I tried to tell them how wrong that was, and they brushed me off and continued working their list".

            I think this is that.
            Churches could get around that by allowing a congregant that is a notary public be the officiant a civil marriage and allow the pastor to simply do the religious ceremony thus decoupling the church from state requirements. The congregant would still have to preform a gay civil marriage, but it would the religious aspect. Or the pastor could just perform a civil marriage (which can be done similar to one done at the clerk's office) in the parking lot.
            P1) If , then I win.

            P2)

            C) I win.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Diogenes View Post
              Colorado is ground zero for another First Amendment SCOTUS fight:

              This is going to be a big case for religious freedom...
              Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Diogenes View Post

                Churches could get around that by allowing a congregant that is a notary public be the officiant a civil marriage and allow the pastor to simply do the religious ceremony thus decoupling the church from state requirements. The congregant would still have to preform a gay civil marriage, but it would the religious aspect. Or the pastor could just perform a civil marriage (which can be done similar to one done at the clerk's office) in the parking lot.
                OR, we could do what our attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom advised, and ONLY do weddings (as indicated in our Constitution and Bylaws) for those who ascribe to, or agree with, our Statement of Faith, which includes descriptions of biblical marriage, as well as God creating male and female, and... well, here's the language...

                We also believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary sexes together reflect the image and nature of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.

                Further, we believe the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Gen. 2:18-25).
                The statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of ___________ Baptist Church’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our Pastor, in consultation with our Deacon Elder Ministry Team, is ___________’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s application.
                The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                Comment


                • #9
                  By the way, when our current County Judge was elected, he called me to his office for some "confidential advice".

                  He asked, off the record, "as a County Judge, one of my responsibilities is to officiate weddings --- how do I ... um... you know... "

                  I got what he was asking, and told him, "actually, as County Judge, you "may" officiate weddings, but there is no requirement for you to do so".

                  I told him he could simply have a policy whereby he doesn't do ANY weddings, but there were plenty of ministers, justices of the peace, and other officials who might accommodate them.

                  About a year later, my wife got two dozen red roses at her offices, with a note from the Judge thanking ME for advising him of that policy, because it gave him a lot more personal time with his own wife, not being tied up with a bunch or weekend (or weekday) weddings.
                  The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Same with cake decorating, photographers, or any other creative artist, it is against the constitution to force them to create artwork that is against their will. This sort of crap needs to go to the SCOTUS and have them rule on it once and for all. So it is good that this one is there.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                      Same with cake decorating, photographers, or any other creative artist, it is against the constitution to force them to create artwork that is against their will. This sort of crap needs to go to the SCOTUS and have them rule on it once and for all. So it is good that this one is there.
                      BEFORE the liberals even go crazier than they are and pack the court!
                      The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                        BEFORE the liberals even go crazier than they are and pack the court!
                        Someone should go to a liberal web designer and make them build a Pro-Trump website. And then a Pro Life website. And a website for a gun shop.


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sparko View Post

                          Someone should go to a liberal web designer and make them build a Pro-Trump website. And then a Pro Life website. And a website for a gun shop.
                          The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sparko View Post

                            Someone should go to a liberal web designer and make them build a Pro-Trump website. And then a Pro Life website. And a website for a gun shop.
                            Or...OR... A pro-Trump, pro Life, gun shop website
                            P1) If , then I win.

                            P2)

                            C) I win.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Diogenes View Post

                              Or...OR... A pro-Trump, pro Life, gun shop website
                              A Texas hardware store!
                              The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                              Comment

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