CV NEWS FEED // On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of Lorie Smith, a Christian website designer, stating that the First Amendment prevents state governments from compelling people to create speech in violation of their religious beliefs.
As Erika Ahern of CatholicVote reported:
In 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represented Lorie Smith in challenging a so-called “anti-discrimination” law in Colorado that would force her to create websites celebrating marriages “that defy her belief that marriage should be reserved to unions between one man and one woman.”
Later that day, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement praising the decision stating, “Religious freedom means nothing if it does not extend to the public square. And the public square is better off when religion is welcome there.”
Many notable Catholics also weighed in on 303 Creative. Here are some of their reactions.
Rubio, Florida’s senior senator and a lawyer, applauded the decision shortly after it was announced on Friday afternoon. “Finally, common sense is returning to public life,” he wrote. “The Supreme Court got it right in 303 Creative v. Elenis.”
Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) President Ryan T. Anderson congratulated the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) for their successful representation of Smith.
Anderson is a leading Catholic intellectual who advocates for the defense of marriage. He is also the author of several books, including What is Marriage? and When Harry Became Sally.
Whelan, Anderson’s predecessor as EPPC President, responded to accusations made by several left-wing activists that Smith “refused to serve gays.”
“Even Colorado agreed that’s not true,” he said, citing the facts of the case. Whelan explained that Smith’s issue was not with anyone she was serving but instead with being forced by her home state to create content that violated her Christian faith.
Saturday, National Review senior writer Dan McLaughlin refuted another leftist activist’s claims that the 303 Creative ruling was “teed up” by the Court to “gut LGBTQ+ rights.” He stated that instead, the case was simply the result of the state of Colorado passing a law targeting Christians – and Smith successfully suing to stop them.
On Sunday, McLaughlin debunked another leftist accusation. “Anybody telling you there was no standing in 303 Creative…is outright lying to you about the case. Colorado’s threat of enforcement” of their so-called anti-discrimination” law “was real.”
Carrie Severino, the President of Judicial Network (JCN), said that the Court’s 6-3 decision “reaffirms a fundamental principle in American constitutional law—the right to not be compelled to speak under the First Amendment.”
She continued saying that the Colorado law in question was “employed as a vehicle of coercion—in this case, targeting Lorie Smith, a graphic designer who did not want to create a website for a same-sex wedding based on her religious beliefs.”
Referencing the Court’s 2018 Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling, which held that a similar Colorado law violated a Christian business owner’s First Amendment rights, Severino stated, “The Court has a long line of precedents prohibiting compelled speech and viewpoint discrimination. Colorado ran afoul of those principles in its treatment of Smith.”
In summary, she concluded that Smith’s victory
broadens the Supreme Court’s recognition of First Amendment principles that protect the freedom of conscience. It also extends its line of victories in recent years protecting religious freedom and expression.
Severino is the co-author of Justice on Trial, the best-selling account of the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Severino’s husband, Roger, is the Vice-President of the Heritage Foundation, a Senior Fellow at EPPC, and was the director of the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the Trump Administration.
He tweeted: “Government knows rightly that we tend to become what we profess. If government can force you to speak untruths about about [sic] something as important as marriage, it can do just about anything.”
CatholicVote President Brian Burch hailed the ruling saying, “Perhaps we will finally see an end to government persecution of Christian florists, bakers, and photographers.”
In a nod to CatholicVote’s nature as a political advocacy organization, he added, “This is why elections matter. That’s why it’s critical to get good people elected to the Senate, the White House – to continue to get justices like Barrett, Kavanaugh, and Gorsuch confirmed.”
Editor of the LOOP and CatholicVote Director of Communications Josh Mercer said that “For many years, the Supreme Court has sided with religious liberty, but sometimes the victories were too narrow.”
Echoing Burch, he said, “This would invite further legal challenges against Christian florists, bakers and now website builders.”
It’s called lawfare – in which one side (the LGBT community) uses years of lawsuits to punish small Christian-based store owners who don’t want to be forced into celebrating something that violates their faith.
Let us hope that this sweeping Supreme Court decision will put an end to the constant legal attacks of the last decade.
CatholicVote Director of Governmental Affairs Tom McClusky hoped that 303 Creative is “the final victory that protects the targeting of people of faith to force them to condone actions they disagree with.”
First, they went after the florists, then the bakers, and now the website designers. Thank God, literally, for Alliance Defending Freedom and the work they do.
This isn’t about discrimination but about right and wrong, and the court got this right.