Supreme Court Weighs in on Controversial Case of Christian Graphic Designer Refusing Services to Same-Sex Couples

Us supreme court recently heard arguments in a case involving lorie smith, a graphic designer from colorado, who has refused to create wedding websites for same-sex couples on the basis of her christian faith. this case pits free speech rights against anti-discrimination laws, which are in place in most us states. in 2016, ms smith filed a lawsuit to challenge the state’s public accommodation law, claiming that it violates her first amendment right to free speech. during the hearing, justice samuel alito asked if a business offering to write vows could be forced to write something they loath while justice sonia sotomayor questioned if ruling in favour of ms smith could lead to discrimination on other grounds.

Case has been ongoing since 2016 when ms smith filed her lawsuit in colorado. following two lower courts ruling in colorado’s favour, the case was brought to the supreme court. the case has exposed a partisan rift in the us, with president joe biden’s administration and 20 largely democratic states standing behind colorado in arguing that a ruling in favour of ms smith could have wide-reaching implications. similarly, the supreme court has heard cases in the past that were based on the same argument, such as the one involving colorado-based baker jack phillips.

Smith argued before the court that if the government can censor and compel her speech, it can do the same to anybody. additionally, ms smith and her supporters contend that a ruling against her could force artists to do work that is against their faith. ms smith’s case has been receiving a large amount of support from republican-leaning states and religious groups. in 2018, the supreme court ruled in favour of mr phillips, determining that the state had failed to show tolerance for his beliefs. this ruling did not address the larger issue of public accommodation laws, but it has left the matter open for further discussion.

By Evey Lovelace

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