The outcome of the 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis case, which is currently before the Supreme Court, has the potential to deeply affect small business owners who hold religious beliefs across the United States. This case, which centers around Lorie Smith, a graphic designer who opposes the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) requiring her to create websites for same-sex weddings, has significant implications for the 22 states with comparable laws. Smith’s argument is based on her religious conviction that marriage is solely between a man and a woman.
SCOTUS’ Decision In Upcoming Case Could Have Massive Implications For Small Business Owners Of Faith https://t.co/vVSqScyTV9
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 6, 2023
Smith’s case is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who are also involved in several other cases in lower courts. According to Bryan Neihart, ADF’s Legal Counsel, they are optimistic that the Supreme Court will uphold the freedom of artists to create in accordance with their convictions. Neihart made these comments to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
I will always stand up for the religious liberty & free speech rights of Kentuckians.
We led 21 states in filing an amicus brief supporting a Louisville wedding photographer's right to decline to take custom photographs at a same-sex wedding. https://t.co/plxSeAbqTP pic.twitter.com/ahUDtYaWFk
— Attorney General Daniel Cameron (@kyoag) March 1, 2023
Chelsey Nelson, a wedding photographer and blogger based in Louisville, is challenging a local law that resembles the Colorado law. The law would mandate that she create photos or blog posts espousing a viewpoint on marriage that she disagrees with. Kentucky’s Attorney General, backed by 20 other states, has filed a brief in support of Nelson’s case, contending that requiring her to create custom content for a same-sex wedding when she objects to the message it conveys constitutes compelled speech and infringes on the Free Speech Clause. Aaron and Melissa Klein, the proprietors of “Sweet Cakes by Melissa,” an Oregon cake shop, have also submitted a brief supporting Nelson.
Emilee Carpenter, a photographer in New York, filed a comparable case against the state in September in the 2nd Circuit. Carpenter is challenging New York’s public accommodation laws, which carry severe penalties such as fines up to $100,000, the possibility of losing one’s business license, and up to a year in jail if she refuses to photograph a same-sex wedding. ADF is also representing cases in the 4th Circuit, involving Virginia photographer Bob Updegrove, and in the 9th Circuit with the United States of America Pageants. The pageants argue that permitting men in their all-female event would detract from their “core message of honoring women.”
The cases mentioned above make it evident that liberal activists are singling out religious small business owners with the aim of compelling them to act in opposition to their religious convictions. Such actions are a challenge to the fundamental principles of religious freedom and free speech that our nation was founded upon. The Supreme Court has a duty to uphold these principles and safeguard religious small business owners from being coerced into producing messages that go against their beliefs. To do anything less would infringe upon our constitutional rights and undermine the values that our nation stands for.
Source: The Daily Caller