September 2021 Church & State Magazine | AU Bulletin

A Colorado website designer who said her religious beliefs prevented her from working with same-sex couples has no right to discriminate, a federal appeals court ruled in July.

Lorie Smith, owner of a firm called 303 Creative, argued that a Colorado law banning discrimination against LGBTQ residents violated her right to religious freedom. She was represented in court by Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian nationalist legal group.

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Smith in a 2-1 decision.  The court held that Colorado has a legitimate interest in protecting the “dignity interests” of people who have been subjected to discrimination.

The court held that it must “consider the grave harms caused when public accommodations discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. Combatting such discrimination is, like individual autonomy, ‘essential’ to our democratic ideals.”

Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case on the side of Colorado officials. (303 Creative v. Elenis)