Supreme Court to decide design of same-sex marriage, First Amendment case
The issues at stake in our legal cases are so fundamental that it’s hard to understand why they should require a trial — much less a trip for each of us to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Still, Colorado officials say they have the right to tell us, as artists, what to communicate. What if we disagree with the state’s views on the great issues of our time? Coercion.
But there’s no way to freeze free speech in America.
As much of America knows by now, Jack Phillips owns Masterpiece Cakeshop. He’s a Denver-area pastry artist who wants to create custom cakes in line with his beliefs. This includes personalized cakes celebrating a biblical understanding of marriage.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop
In 2018, the Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, ruled in favor of Jack. The nation’s highest court says the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated the First Amendment’s free exercise clause by showing hostility to his religious beliefs through comments and statements by ordering Jack to bake a cake. personalized wedding card for a same-sex couple.
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Lorie Smith owns 303 Creative, also in the Denver area. She’s a graphic designer who loves designing — and wants to create — wedding websites.
Like Jack, Lorie is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom and truly believes in God’s plan for marriage expressed in the Bible. But because a Colorado law requires her – as Jack did – to create art that is incompatible with the very essence of who she is, she will go to the United States Supreme Court this term.
It saddens us that, in a country we love so much, our state is depriving us of our fundamental constitutional rights.
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And it’s painful when people call us hateful names and seem to forget that we both serve those who identify as LGBTQ and have done so throughout our careers. Even state officials who oppose us concede this.
Like most artists, we simply cannot design every message requested. We never imagined that something so common sense would bring such persecution.
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Jack has been targeted virtually non-stop for more than a decade, with oral arguments in the latest Masterpiece Cakeshop case in the Colorado Court of Appeals on Wednesday. It’s one thing to be sued over and over; it’s quite another to watch your family suffer harassment and death threats, be forced to lay off long-serving employees, and lose a substantial part of your business.
303 Creative designer receives death threats
Lorie has faced the uncertainty of litigation for six years – waking up every day knowing that her own condition prevents her from doing the kind of artistic work she most wants to do. She too received death threats, as did her child and her family.
It’s a lot to endure, simply because some disagree with our faith’s teachings on marriage. But we stand firm in the hope that one day those who misunderstand and mistreat us will see that we stand up for them too.
Our cases are not about what each of us believes about marriage. It is about freeing us all from government oppression. And respecting everyone’s right to have their own opinion, even if we don’t always agree.
This is how we both live our lives and run our businesses. We treat even people who disagree with us with respect, and we don’t want to see anyone of a different opinion deprived of their freedom, livelihood, family security or achievement. of his dreams: not the LGBTQ web designer, not the atheist baker, not the Muslim photographer, not the Democratic speechwriter. No one should be forced to speak messages that violate their core beliefs.
This term, Lorie will go to the Supreme Court, which will answer the question: Does a state have the right to compel you to express ideas that violate your deepest personal beliefs?
We hope for all of us that the High Court will say “no” and rule in favor of free speech, ensuring that Colorado and every state respects and makes room for everyone’s beliefs. After all, that is what the Constitution and equality before the law require.
This is what we want for our children and grandchildren – and yours. A world where everyone, no matter who they are, is free to express themselves and defend the ideas they truly believe in.
Lorie Smith is the owner of 303 Creative. Jack Phillips is the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop.
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