The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled on Monday a Colorado web designer must design and publish websites that violate her religious conscience. In the 2-1 ruling, the court ruled 303 Creative founder Lorie Smith must create graphics or websites for LGBT customers despite messaging that conflicts with her deepest beliefs.
“The government should never force creative professionals to promote a message or cause with which they disagree. That is quintessential free speech and artistic freedom,” said attorney John Bursch, who serves as a senior counsel and vice president oat the First Amendment non-profit Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The group represented Smith in the case, and said in a Monday statement it intends to appeal the court’s ruling.
Smith filed the pre-enforcement challenge to Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA), which prohibits any business that offers public services from discrimination based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. The web designer filed the motion after she was approached to make a website for a same-sex wedding but didn’t respond in order to avoid violating the act.