Supreme Court Rules for Christian Web Designer in Forced Speech Case


The Supreme Court ruled 6–3 in favor of a Christian website designer who said Colorado’s law requiring her to create websites to celebrate same-sex weddings infringed on her constitutional rights.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion (pdf) in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis (court file 21-476) which was decided June 30. The opinion was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, along with Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

The three liberal justices dissented. President Joe Biden called the new decision “disappointing.”

When the bakers refuse to make the cakes, these activists sue under anti-discrimination laws, hoping to secure favorable legal precedents.

In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018), the Supreme Court sided with Jack Phillips, a Christian baker whom a gay couple had asked to create a custom cake to celebrate their union, finding a state human rights commission had violated his First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.

Smith has said she will design custom websites for anyone, including those who identify as LGBT, so long as their message does not conflict with her religious views.

This means that she won’t promote messages that condone violence or encourage sexual immorality, abortion, or same-sex marriage.

When clients want such messages expressed, Smith refers them to other website designers.

Smith took action when she discovered she was forbidden under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) to post a statement online explaining what content she was, and was not, willing to create.

Smith’s attorney, Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom, told the justices during oral arguments on Dec. 5, 2022, that Smith “blends art with technology to create custom messages using words and graphics.”

“She serves all people, deciding what to create based on the message, not who requests it. But Colorado declares her speech a public accommodation and insists that she create and speak messages that violate her conscience,” she said.

“If the government may not force motorists to display a motto, school children to say a pledge, or parades to include banners, Colorado may not force Ms. Smith to create and speak messages on pain of investigation, fine, and re-education.”