My VIP for this week is Lorie Smith, a graphic and website designer from Colorado. Her case, 303 Creative vs. Colorado, was heard today by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case is against her, but it is also against all Americans. According to Mary Margaret Olohan at The Daily Signal, Smith said the following:
I am a graphic and website designer from Colorado. I want to create and design for weddings. And I want to do that consistent with my faith.
But the state of Colorado is censoring and compelling my speech and forcing me to create custom artwork, custom expression, that goes against the core of who I am and what I believe. So the court heard the case today. I’m hopeful that the Supreme Court will stand to protect everyone’s right to create and speak consistent with their own beliefs.
After the hearing, Smith reported that she was feeling “incredible, I’m just so grateful for this opportunity.” She continued, “My hope and prayer is that the court will protect everyone’s right to speak freely, whether your views are similar to mine on marriage or perhaps different, the right to speak freely is guaranteed to each of us, and I am hoping the court protects that right.”
Alliance Defending Freedom represented Smith, and the president of the organization is Kristen Waggoner, who made the following statement: She said that Smith’s case “involves whether all of us have the right of free speech. Colorado has taken the position that it can compel all kinds of artists and speakers to say things they don’t believe. That includes Lorie.” Waggoner continued, “I hope the court issues a broad decision that protects all speakers. Many states have public accommodation laws and some states have up to 20 different categories in those laws. They’re sweeping, and a number of government officials are using them to compel people to say things that they just don’t believe.”
According to Waggoner, the case not only threatens the personal rights of Americans, but it is “actually a threat to the principle of fundamental government and allowing authoritarian governments to tell people what ideas are worthy of celebration.”
Colorado seems to be intent on suing artists who want to practice according to their religious beliefs. A few years ago, there was a case between Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips and the State of Colorado because Phillips declined to create a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding due to his religious beliefs. His case went to the Supreme Court also, and he won the case – only to be taken to sued again as soon as the first case was settled.
Phillips claimed that Smith’s case, Phillips’ case, and other similar battles are “about the government’s responsibility to respect the right of each of us.