US Supreme Court to hear arguments Monday in pivotal free speech case
WHO: ADF CEO and lead counsel Kristen Waggoner, graphic artist Lorie Smith
WHAT: Press conference following oral arguments in 303 Creative v. Elenis
WHEN: Immediately following oral arguments, which begin at 10 a.m. EST, Monday, Dec. 5
WHERE: Outside U.S. Supreme Court, 1 First St. NE, Washington, or watch livestream. To schedule an interview, contact ADF Media Relations Manager AnnMarie Pariseau at (480) 417-3975.
WASHINGTON – Denver-area graphic artist and website designer Lorie Smith and Alliance Defending Freedom CEO, President, and General Counsel Kristen Waggoner, who will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court on Smith’s behalf in 303 Creative v. Elenis on Monday, will speak at a press conference outside the court immediately following oral arguments.
The case concerns a Colorado law that requires Smith to communicate messages inconsistent with her beliefs. Even though Colorado officials have admitted that she works with people from all walks of life, including those who identify as LGBT, that she chooses what to create based on the message requested, and that every website she creates conveys a unique message, the state still says it can force her to speak messages about marriage that contradict her core beliefs.
“Free speech is for everyone. No one should be forced to say something they don’t believe,” said Waggoner. “And Lorie works with everyone. Whether she custom designs a website or graphic always turns on what the message is, not who is requesting it. Like most graphic designers, every word she writes, every graphic she designs, and every custom website she crafts expresses a unique message—one that must be consistent with her beliefs, areas of passion, and personal expertise. Americans should be free to express their ideas even if the government disagrees with them. That’s true for Lorie just as much as the LGBT graphic designer, which is why a win for Lorie is a win for all Americans.”
The Supreme Court agreed to take Smith’s case after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit issued a 2–1 decision holding that Colorado can compel her to create messages about marriage that violate her sincere beliefs even though her designs are, as the 10th Circuit admitted, “pure speech” and Colorado’s purpose is to completely “[e]liminate[e her] ideas” from the public dialogue. The dissent called such compulsion an “existential threat” to freedom and the majority’s opinion “staggering” and “unprecedented” because the “Constitution protects Ms. Smith from the government telling her what to say….”
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
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