Supreme Court taking up clash of religion and gay rights

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court docket is listening to the case Monday of a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing marriage ceremony web sites for homosexual {couples}, a dispute that’s the most recent conflict of faith and homosexual rights to land on the highest courtroom.

The designer and her supporters say that ruling in opposition to her would power artists — from painters and photographers to writers and musicians — to do work that’s in opposition to their religion. Her opponents, in the meantime, say that if she wins, a variety of companies will be capable of discriminate, refusing to serve Black clients, Jewish or Muslim individuals, interracial or interfaith {couples} or immigrants, amongst others.

The case comes at a time when the courtroom is dominated 6-3 by conservatives and following a collection of circumstances by which the justices have sided with non secular plaintiffs. It additionally comes as, throughout the road from the courtroom, lawmakers in Congress are finalizing a landmark invoice defending same-sex marriage.

The invoice, which additionally protects interracial marriage, steadily gained momentum following the excessive courtroom’s choice earlier this yr to finish constitutional protections for abortion. That call to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade case prompted questions on whether or not the courtroom — now that it’s extra conservative — may additionally overturn its 2015 choice declaring a nationwide proper to same-sex marriage. Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly stated that call must also be reconsidered.

The case being argued earlier than the excessive courtroom Monday includes Lorie Smith, a graphic artist and web site designer in Colorado who needs to start providing marriage ceremony web sites. Smith says her Christian religion prevents her from creating web sites celebrating same-sex marriages. However that might get her in hassle with state legislation. Colorado, like most different states, has what’s referred to as a public lodging legislation that claims if Smith gives marriage ceremony web sites to the general public, she should present them to all clients. Companies that violate the legislation will be fined, amongst different issues.

5 years in the past, the Supreme Court docket heard a special problem involving Colorado’s legislation and a baker, Jack Phillips, who objected to designing a marriage cake for a homosexual couple. That case ended with a restricted choice, nevertheless, and arrange a return of the problem to the excessive courtroom. Phillips’ lawyer, Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom, is now representing Smith.

Like Phillips, Smith says her objection is to not working with homosexual individuals. She says she’d work with a homosexual consumer who wanted assist with graphics for an animal rescue shelter, for instance, or to advertise a corporation serving kids with disabilities. However she objects to creating messages supporting same-sex marriage, she says, simply as she received’t take jobs that may require her to create content material selling atheism or playing or supporting abortion.

Smith says Colorado’s legislation violates her free speech rights. Her opponents, together with the Biden administration and teams such because the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP Authorized Protection & Instructional Fund, disagree.

Twenty largely liberal states, together with California and New York, are supporting Colorado whereas one other 20 largely Republican states, together with Arizona, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee, are supporting Smith.

The case is 303 Inventive LLC v. Elenis, 21-476.


Observe the AP’s protection of the U.S. Supreme Court docket at