What kind of business is 303 Creative?
303 Creative is a design studio run by Colorado graphic artist Lorie Smith. Lorie specializes in custom graphic and website design to convey messages and promote causes close to her heart and consistent with her beliefs. She loves to promote children with disabilities, veterans, animal shelters, overseas missions, small businesses, and the beauty of marriage.
What is 303 Creative v. Elenis about?
Lorie Smith wants to expand her portfolio to include websites celebrating marriage between a man and a woman, but Colorado officials have made clear she’s not welcome in that space. Colorado officials are compelling Lorie to create custom designs and websites celebrating views of marriage that violate her deeply held beliefs, which violates Lorie’s First Amendment right to free speech. Lorie works with people from all walks of life, including those who identify as LGBT. But she cannot speak every message that is requested of her. It’s not a matter of who is requesting a project, but what message is being requested. That’s why Lorie challenged Colorado’s unjust application of the law.
In 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued an unprecedented opinion saying that Colorado can force Lorie to speak messages that violate her beliefs. So, she appealed to the Supreme Court, and oral arguments were heard on December 5, 2022.
Who is Aubrey Elenis?
Aubrey Elenis is the Director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division, which is charged with enforcing Colorado’s law that violates Lorie’s right to free speech.
Where is 303 Creative located?
303 Creative is based in the Denver metro area. The “303” in its name is the original area code for the Denver area.
How is this case different from the Masterpiece Cakeshop case?
In Masterpiece, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of Jack Phillips that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had violated the Free Exercise Clause. Because the Commission acted with such clear impermissible hostility toward Jack and his faith, the Court did not address the free speech claim. Now, in 303 Creative, the Court has taken up the question of whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.
What is the significance of this case?
Across the nation, Alliance Defending Freedom is representing numerous other artists just like Lorie, who serve everyone, including those who identify as LGBT, but always ensure that the messages they create are consistent with their beliefs. At stake in these cases is whether the government can compel artists to speak messages they disagree with or censor them from speaking messages they want to speak. Some of these artists face six figure fines and even jail time for simply seeking to say what they believe. A win for Lorie is a win for the free speech rights of every artist and every American.