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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Free Speech Challenged

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in a case from a Colorado website designer who claims a Colorado anti-discrimination law violates the First Amendment rights of some artists by forcing them to provide services for messages they oppose.

Lorie Smith says the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act violates her right to free speech because it requires her to create wedding websites for same-sex couples, a message inconsistent with her religious beliefs. The law bans public businesses from denying goods or services based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or other characteristics.

In 2018, the court ruled on a similar case dealing with the same Colorado law in favor of a baker who refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. Still, the court avoided the broader question of whether businesses could discriminate and be protected by the First Amendment.

Questions from the 6-3 conservative majority court suggested they may be willing to carve out a narrow exemption and are expected to announce a decision next year.

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