Web designer who refused to create gay couples’ websites denied appeal
A Colorado web designer has lost her challenge to Colorado’s anti-discrimination law in a suit she filed against the state because she didn’t want to design wedding websites for gay couples.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Monday rejected the appeal from business owner Lorie Smith of 303 Creative, according to court documents. Smith filed a pre-enforcement challenge to Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA), which restricts a business from refusing to provide services based on a customer’s identity, in preparation to expand her business services to include wedding websites.
Smith argued that while she has clients of all gender identities, it’s against her religion to promote same-sex marriage, and therefore doesn’t want to be forced to make them for gay couples, court documents state.
“I will not be able to create websites for same-sex marriages or any other marriage that is not between one man and one woman,” Smith said, according to the documents. “Doing that would compromise my Christian witness and tell a story about marriage that contradicts God’s true story of marriage.”
A judge’s ruling said that Smith’s arguments do not supersede Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, CNN notes.
“There is no indication that Colorado will enforce CADA differently against graphic designers than bakeries,” the ruling read, referencing the case of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to create cakes for same-sex weddings.
Phillips appealed after being told by Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission that he had to adhere to CADA, regardless of his religious views. The Supreme Court ultimately found in a 2018 decision that the state’s enforcement of CADA was a violation of Philips’s First Amendment rights.
In June, Philips was fined $500 for denying an order for a gender-transition cake on the grounds that he violated CADA.