The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns violations of religious beliefs and the right to free speech. Colorado makes a practice of trying to force people to use their talents to supply services for same-sex weddings. A few years ago, a cake maker in Colorado had to go to the Supreme Court to get the state off his back. Now, another artist in Colorado is fighting against the same oppression.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in the case of Lorie Smith, a Colorado graphic designer. She claims that Colorado is forcing her to supply services for same-sex weddings. The arguments in her case will be heard next fall.
Smith is being defended by Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit legal organization that focuses on protecting religious freedom and free speech. The organization held a press conference on Wednesday outside the U.S. Capitol to highlight Smith’s lawsuit against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Smith spoke at the event and said, “All of us should be free to say what we believe, even if the government disagrees with those beliefs.”
Joining Smith at the press conference were several lawmakers, including Senators Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) as well as Representatives Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), and Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.).
In addition, 18 senators and 38 House Republicans filed an amicus brief on June 2 in support of Smith. Cruz spoke at the press conference about the universal importance of Smith’s case at the Supreme Court because it would set an important precedent for free speech.
Colorado wants to compel the speech of Christian artists and business owners who decline to use their God-given talents to celebrate events that run contrary to what their faith teaches. Colorado law restricts the fundamental First Amendment rights of Lorie and other business owners like her. And it doesn’t just target Christians only.
Consider it this way: Should a Muslim artist be compelled by the government to draw the image of Muhammad? Should Jewish artists be forced to create art that they consider to be antisemitic? Should a Democrat political firm be forced to take on Republican clients?
Kristen Waggoner, ADF general counsel, also spoke at the press conference. “Free speech is an inalienable human right, and it is the foundation for self-government. The government doesn’t grant us this right, but fortunately, our Constitution protects it and we are stewards of that freedom.”