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May 14, 2022

Christian Web Designer Takes Case to US Supreme Court After Being Forced to Violate Religious Beliefs - CBN.com

Colorado web designer Lorie Smith runs her business in accordance with her Christian faith, however, the state and federal governments are telling her that she must violate her beliefs.
Smith, who owns 303 Creative studio, is now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her case in hopes that the high court will rule that she doesn't have to express messages and celebrate events that violate her First Amendment rights.
In July, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the artist had to design wedding websites for same-sex couples. The judges also said that Colorado can prohibit Smith from even explaining on her social media page which websites she can create based on her religious beliefs.
The court ruled that Colorado can force Lorie Smith to design and publish websites promoting messages that violate her religious beliefs.
If the state can override the First Amendment in this situation, then everyone's rights are on the chopping block. https://t.co/kFnfbUVI1H
— Alliance Defending Freedom (@AllianceDefends) September 28, 2021
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represents Smith, argues that the law forces her to violate her Christian beliefs.
"The government shouldn't weaponize the law to force a web designer to speak messages that violate her beliefs," argued ADF General Counsel Kristen Waggoner. "This case involves quintessential free speech and artistic freedom, which the 10th Circuit dangerously cast aside."
Waggoner continued, "The 10th Circuit's reasoning turns free-speech protections on their head by saying that the more 'unique' speech is, the more the government can compel it. That kind of dangerous, unconstitutional reasoning is why we have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take Lorie's case."
Smith is challenging the same anti-discrimination law as Colorado Christian baker Jack Phillips.
As CBN News has reported, Phillips is a Denver cake artist who first came under fire for declining to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. He serves everyone at his store, but he's unable to create messages celebrating events that violate his biblical beliefs. 
He's been battling in the courts for years, and even though the Supreme Court once ruled in his favor, he lost a case earlier this year after a judge ruled in favor of an activist who targeted him, requesting a cake that celebrated a transgender transition. Phillips is also represented by ADF.
"The government should never force creative professionals to promote a message or cause with which they disagree," explained ADF Senior Counsel John Bursch. 
Waggoner contends that the ruling against Smith was "incorrect," and the same judgment should apply to anyone who disagrees with a particular message.
"We sink or swim together when it comes to the First Amendment," she said.
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