A Colorado web designer who says the state is forcing her to publish websites with messages counter to her religious beliefs, is seeking a Supreme Court hearing over the issue after a lower court rejected her peremptory challenge to the anti-discrimination law, reports The Washington Examiner.
Lorie Smith filed the petition with the high court Friday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit concluded that the government may, "based on content and viewpoint, force Lorie to convey messages that violate her religious beliefs and restrict her from explaining her faith."
“The government shouldn’t weaponize the law to force a web designer to speak messages that violate her belief,” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) General Counsel Kristen Waggoner said during a conference call before filing the petition. “This case involves quintessential free speech and artistic freedom, which the 10th circuit astonishingly and dangerously cast aside here.”
ADF, which is representing Smith, asks the Court the following questions in its petition:
- Whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent, contrary to the artist’s sincerely held religious beliefs, violates the Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.
- Whether a public-accommodation law that authorizes secular but not religious exemptions is generally applicable under Smith, and if so, whether this Court should overrule Smith.
The petition often references the lone dissenting judge from the Tenth Circuit panel, Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich, who called the decision “unprecedented” and “staggering” in scope, adding that even though he was “loathe to reference Orwell, the majority’s opinion endorses substantial government interference in matters of speech, religion, and conscience.”
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