SCOTUS Hears Challenge to Colo. Anti-Discrimination Act

    SCOTUS Hears Challenge to Colo. Anti-Discrimination Act
    Last updated Dec 05, 2022
    Image credit: nbc


    • The US Supreme Court on Monday heard oral arguments in a case involving Denver-based web designer Lorie Smith. A conservative evangelical Christian, Smith is seeking an exemption from Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act in relation to taking on LGBTQ customers.[1]
    • Smith contends that the right to free speech enshrined under the US Constitution's First Amendment exempts artists – including web designers – from anti-discrimination laws, and that Colorado's law forces her to undertake work that conflicts with her religious beliefs.[2]
    • Smith intends to expand her business ("303 Creative") to include wedding websites, and wants to tell the stories of opposite-sex couples "through God's lens" as she strongly believes that, "marriage is between one man and one woman — and that union is significant."[3]
    • Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act forbids businesses open to the public to discriminate based on sexual orientation, race, gender, or religion. It also restricts organizations from displaying any notices to that effect.[4]
    • SCOTUS legalized gay marriage in 2015 and expanded protections for LGBT workers under federal law in 2020, when it decided the 1964 Civil Rights Act also protects gay, lesbians and transgender Americans.[5]
    • The conservative-majority court reportedly appeared sympathetic towards Smith on Monday. A final decision is expected by the end of June.[6]


    Left narrative

    A ruling endorsing Smith's free speech arguments, intentionally or not, could lead to widespread discrimination against the LGBTQ community and undermine the entire purpose of anti-discrimination laws. If the conservative "artists" are granted a license to discriminate, they would be free to propagate bigotry and even legally hang out signs in the future that refuse to serve Muslims, African Americans, or women.

    Right narrative

    Should Smith, who serves LGBTQ clients in other areas, be imprisoned for her refusal to work against her religious beliefs? Denying Colorado artists the right to choose their customers could affect the fabric of the US's free and diverse society. The First Amendment doesn't give the state the power to coerce its citizens to renounce their religious beliefs in favor of views they don't agree with.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 21% chance that an openly LGBTQ person will be elected President of the United States by 2041, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Political split



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