On Friday, June 30, the United States Supreme Court ruled in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, the follow-up to 2018’s Masterpiece Cakeshop case, that the First Amendment protects small business owners from being forced to accept jobs that violate their principles. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion for the Court, which was divided 6-3. He was joined by Chief Justice Roberts, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Barrett. Justice Sonia Sotomayor filed a dissent, joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Jackson.
Lori Smith is a website designer who wanted to enter the wedding website-building business. She is a devout Christian who says her faith requires she not celebrate same-sex couples’ unions. Could she notify prospective clients of her wishes? How about refusing business from same-sex couples who wish to force her to disavow her faith claims? That’s why she sued Colorado, which has prosecuted business owners for refusing demands to help produce same-sex wedding celebrations. She won at the High Court and will no longer face threats from Colorado.
Justice Gorsuch wrote:
The First Amendment’s protections belong to all, not just to speakers whose motives the government finds worthy. In this case, 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.
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