CFC signs Supreme Court brief defending wedding website designer’s religious freedom
The California Family Council, along with 15 other family policy councils, has signed a amicus briefurging the United States Supreme Court to preserve conscience rights and religious liberty from government excesses.
State censorship is increasingly infringing on the First Amendment rights of corporations and citizens. The state continues not only to ban speech it disapproves of, but also to impose speech at the expense of the rights of conscience. Artists and business owners experience this in particular.
That’s exactly what happened to graphic designer Lorie Smith, when the Colorado state government told her she should create wedding websites to celebrate same-sex marriages or shut down. But “creating wedding websites” is “pure talk”. Smith does not want to use her artistic talents to create websites that celebrate ideas contrary to her core beliefs, as is her right. The Supreme Court must hear arguments regarding this right in 303 Creative v. Elenis this autumn.
Smith believes that same-sex marriages are incompatible with God’s purpose for marriage, and therefore it would be wrong for her to serve those marriages. She doesn’t refuse to serve gay clients – in fact, Lorie regularly works with clients from all walks of life. She only refuses to use her skills to craft specific content that promotes gay marriage.
The question in this case is “when and if a state’s non-discrimination law can nullify Ms. Smith’s conscience rights and force her to say things she doesn’t believe in.”
The brief argues that the 1942 Supreme Court case Barnette v. West Virginia set a radical precedent when the Court ruled that students could refuse to salute the flag in public schools. The court determined that the government cannot force speech “to support even the most virtuous and well-meaning causes.”
In the majority opinion, Judge Jackson wrote, “But the freedom to delay is not limited to things that don’t matter much. It would only be a shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ on things that touch the heart of the existing order. This precedent is still relevant and should apply to 303 Creative v. Elenis.
Furthermore, the memoir argues that speech regarding a wedding ceremony is deeply meaningful and should therefore be left to the discretion of the speaker.
“Sacramental in Catholicism, sacred in Protestantism, holy in religions the world over, and precious beyond words to the nation’s secular citizens, the marriage ceremony is not just the dry, formal signature of a civil contract, but rather a defining moment in a human life. life… It is for this reason, among others, that the State cannot, must not, compel an individual to speak or support a marriage ceremony. To do so is an imposition on the human conscience just as grotesque and intrusive as the requirement that an individual blaspheme his own faith or pledge loyalty to a nation above his god.
Ignoring Smith’s conscience rights and forcing her to speak against her will would destroy the American doctrine of free speech. It would violate human dignity and compromise the rights of artists, citizens and businesses to choose the messages they want to send..
Lorie Smith challenged Colorado law that requires her to violate her core beliefs, but a lower court sided with the state. So Lorie Smith, representing the freedoms of all Americans, took the case to the United States Supreme Court.
That’s why the CFC is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in favor of Smith.