Supreme Court to hear same-sex discrimination case

DENVER (KDVR) — The U. S. Supreme Court will be back for its fall term this October. Among the cases the court anticipates hearing is one regarding same-sex marriage and free speech in Colorado.

Colorado has previously dealt with Supreme Court hearings on the topic of same-sex marriage. But with new justices on the bench, some are wondering how the new argument could play out.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser’s office filed a brief with the Supreme Court on Friday, calling on the high court to uphold the state’s anti-discrimination act.

“303 Creative does not want to equally offer its services to all customers, it wants to withhold its website design services from same-sex couples,” Weiser said.

“This case is one where there have been no sales, the business is not operating and it involves a website, so the nature of this case is different,” Weiser said.

Speech for businesses at issue

The state’s brief comes after Lorie Smith with 303 Creative filed a brief with the Court. Smith’s attorneys said it’s not that she doesn’t want to serve certain people, she just does not want to create certain messages. Smith opposes same-sex marriage.

“Lorie Smith will serve everyone, she just can’t express every message through her custom websites. When she decides to take on a project, her decision always turns on the message she is asked to express, never on the person who is requesting it,” said Jake Warner, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom.

The court agreed to hear this case only under the question of whether using public accommodation law to require an artist to speak or stay silent is a violation of free speech. Weiser said its decision could lead to a domino effect.

“It’s been codified into statute and been protected,” Weiser said. “It would be a dangerous and very problematic step to walk back from it. We believe the court will take seriously the consequence of any such action.”

The oral arguments have not received a date yet for October but it is certainly piquing the interest of artists all over the country who want to know what they can or can’t say in their work.


Source: Rocky Mountain News

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