Independence Law Center filed Amicus Brief in Defense of Lorie Smith and First Amendment Rights
(HARRISBURG, PA – June 30, 2023) Today, in a 6-3 decision, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of First Amendment freedoms of Lorie Smith in 303 Creative v. Elenis, rightly declaring that states cannot force a designer like Lorie to create expressive messages which she disagrees with.
“This is a monumental win for freedom of speech for creative professionals. The court recognized that it is a violation of Lorie’s speech rights to force her to create a message with which she disagrees,” said Jeremy Samek, Senior Counsel at the Independence Law Center. “Lorie no longer has to choose between her faith and her business – this decision will protect fundamental liberties for decades to come.”
The Independence Law Center represented an amicus party in support of Lorie, asking the Supreme Court to rule that the First Amendment protects individuals like Lorie from government-compelled speech. Alliance Defending Freedom represented Lorie.
Justice Neil Gorsuch described the situation in his decision: “Colorado seeks to force an individual to speak in ways that align with its views but defy her conscience about a matter of major significance.” Read the full decision here.
303 Creative v. Elenis is the case of a Colorado website designer who is defending her right to use her artistic talents in a way that is consistent with her religious beliefs. After working for various businesses and organizations in marketing and graphic design, Lorie started her own business, 303 Creative, in order to have the freedom to use her artistic passion to convey and celebrate messages she was passionate about. For her, 303 Creative gave her the opportunity to pour her heart, soul and imagination into celebrating marriage by creating a one-of-a-kind wedding website for each couple. Lorie is a Christian who believes that marriage is intended to be between one man and one woman. Because of her deeply-held religious beliefs, she was unwilling to use her artistic expression to create messages that would violate her religious convictions.
Colorado officials ruled that the state’s public accommodations law required Lorie to use her creative talents to design a website that would embrace and celebrate marriages between LGBT partners, without any regard for Lorie’s speech rights under the First Amendment. Lorie appealed through the courts before landing at the US Supreme Court.
Independence Law Center is a leading constitutional civil rights law firm.