Speaking to reporters Feb. 22, Smith's attorney, ADF General Counsel Kristin Waggoner, said, “The government shouldn’t weaponize the law to force a web designer to speak messages that violate her beliefs. This case is about the freedom of all artists and all Americans. This freedom transcends particular views and is foundational to a free society.”
“No one should be compelled to speak messages that violate their conscience under threat of government punishment. If the government has the power to force Lorie to speak a message, it can force any one of us to do so—a Democratic speechwriter to promote the Republican party or an LGBT web designer to condemn same-sex weddings,” Waggoner continued.
The attorney said that “this case illustrates exactly why we have a First Amendment—to prevent officials from eliminating ideas they dislike from public dialogue and from punishing beliefs they want to purge from the public square. Free speech allows us to explore and test ideas and pursue truth; it is foundational to a diverse society. Without it, the state decides what is truth.”
At issue in the 303 Creative case is the same law that brought Lakewood, Colo. baker Jack Philips and his business Masterpiece Cakeshop to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2012, Philips declined to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, on the grounds that doing so would violate his religious beliefs. His prospective customers filed a complaint, and Philips went before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
The civil rights commission ordered Phillips and his staff to undergo anti-discrimination training and to submit quarterly reports on how he is changing company policies. He had to cease making wedding cakes to continue operating his business according to his conscience while not running afoul of the law.
In June 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Colorado commission had violated Phillips' rights. Its 7-2 opinion said the commission “showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection.”
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