Lorie Smith is an artist who runs her own design studio, 303 Creative. She specializes in graphic and website design and loves to visually convey messages in every site she creates. Lorie left the corporate design world to start her own small business in 2012 so she could use her skills to promote causes consistent with her beliefs and close to her heart, such as supporting children with disabilities, the beauty of marriage, overseas missions, animal shelters, and veterans. She was excited to expand her portfolio to create websites that celebrate marriage between a man and a woman, but Colorado made clear she’s not welcome in that space. A Colorado law is censoring what Lorie wants to say and requiring her to create designs that violate her beliefs about marriage. Lorie enjoys working with people from all walks of life, but, like most artists, can’t promote every message. Lorie’s decisions about which projects to design are based on what message she’s being asked to express, not who requests it. After realizing that Colorado was censoring her—and seeing Colorado use this same law to punish Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips—Lorie challenged the law to protect her freedom and her art studio.
In July 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled against Lorie, holding that Colorado can force her to create websites promoting messages that contradict her beliefs about marriage. Chief Judge Tymkovich wrote a powerful dissent, calling the majority’s holding “unprecedented” and “staggering,” stating that “[t]he Constitution protects Ms. Smith from the government telling her what to say...” She appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States on September 24, 2021, and the Court granted her petition for review on February 22, 2022. Oral arguments are expected this fall.
Kristen K. Waggoner serves as General Counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom. Her role includes oversight of the U.S. legal division, a team of 100 attorneys and staff who engage in litigation, public advocacy, and legislative support.