Can the state of Colorado tell a web designer what to say on a website? The answer to that question seems clear if you phrase it that way. But that really is the question brought before the Supreme Court.
Lorie Smith owns 303 Creative, which is a Denver-based company that designs websites. She is also a Christian and would rather not design a website for same-sex couples. But the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act defines her business as a public accommodation.
In one interview, she says she is happy to serve homosexual clients, but she says she “can’t create every message that is requested of me.” She has added that she would also refuse to promote messages that contradict biblical truth and would not promote abortion or gambling or several other messages.
The case argued before the court focused both on her right of free speech and her right of religious free exercise. And the decision should not be that difficult. Her internet business is not a public accommodation, like a hotel or restaurant. There is no captive market on the internet. Gay couples have numerous choices of vendors willing to provide custom websites.
Of course, we have been here before. Photographers, florists, and bakers have been targeted by gay activists who requested they provide services for a same-sex union. Many of those cases have been resolved, and other cases are pending. The Supreme Court has an opportunity to provide clarity not only to this case but to many other cases.
The freedom Lorie Smith is asking for is relatively small compared to many other cases in the past that involved free speech and religious speech. In essence, she is merely asking that the state of Colorado leave her alone. If you want her services, click on her website. If you don’t want her services, keep scrolling and find someone else.