Lori Smith had a vision for creating “customized, dedicated” wedding websites as part of her business, 303 Creative. But because of Colorado’s “anti-discrimination law” known as CADA, she knew she could be prosecuted for conducting her business in accordance with her religious beliefs. This law has been used time and time again to compel Christians to provide services for same-sex weddings and events, disregarding their moral beliefs.
“As a Christian who believes that God gave me the creative gifts that are expressed through this business, I have always strived to honor Him in how I operate it,” Smith explained. “Because of my faith, however, I am selective about the messages that I create or promote.” Smith said that while she “will serve anyone, I am always careful to avoid communicating ideas or messages, or promoting events, products, services, or organizations, that are inconsistent with my religious beliefs.”
Smith’s convictions brought her all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in her favor on June 30th in a 6-3 split decision.
The Court ruled that forcing Smith to create websites against her religious beliefs violates her First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Many speculate that the Court’s decision in Smith’s case will translate to other businesses that have faced similar controversy in the past, such as artists, photographers, videographers, and writers. These individuals provide “expressive services” which are protected under the First Amendment. Businesses such as restaurants and hotels are not covered by the First Amendment and are not subject to the new ruling.
“A commitment to speech for only some messages and some persons is no commitment at all,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion. “[T]he Constitution’s commitment to the freedom of speech means all of us will encounter ideas we consider ‘unattractive,’ ‘misguided, or even hurtful.’ But tolerance, not coercion, is our [n]ation’s answer. The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands.”
This case is one of many over the past several years that has brought religious liberty to the forefront, and it will not be the last. The implications of these cases are far-reaching and cement our fundamental Constitutional rights into the modern-day legal system.
“As Christians, we are instructed to do everything, including what we speak and how we work, as unto the Lord for His glory. We cannot check our biblical faith at the door of our vocation,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council said. “That understanding of free speech and religious freedom has long been protected by the First Amendment. I am grateful that the U.S. Supreme Court strongly reaffirmed this today.” (emphasis added)
This ruling is a step in the right direction for regaining religious freedom in this nation, but the fight is far from over. Continue to pray for our Supreme Court justices, the attorneys fighting for Christian principles at all levels of our legal system, and policy councils like FPIW all around the nation who are involved in these legal battles to protect your fundamental rights.