LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska Examiner) – Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson has joined a coalition of 19 other conservative states in arguing that a Colorado web designer, because of her religious beliefs, should not be legally held to design websites for the same sex. weddings.
The case of Lorie Smith, owner of 303 Creative, deals with a free speech issue that went unanswered in 2018 when the US Supreme Court ruled on another Colorado case, involving a pastry shop.
Colorado’s anti-discrimination law prohibits a public company from refusing to provide services to customers based on their identity, which includes sexual orientation.
The Supreme Court, in its judgment in the Masterpiece Cake Shop case, did not answer the main question posed: what is of more legal importance, the freedom of a company to choose its customers? or the government’s interest in ending discrimination based on sexual orientation?
Legal observers see the 303 Creative appeal as offering the Supreme Court — which is now more conservative than when the Masterpiece Cake Shop case was heard — the opportunity to issue a ruling that would have major implications for federal law. , state and local on civil rights.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that if Smith, the sole employee of 303 Creative, designs websites for heterosexual marriages, she must also legally do so for same-sex marriages. The court held that Colorado had a compelling interest in ensuring “equal access to publicly available goods and services.”
Smith’s appeal argues that the Colorado law violates his First Amendment free speech rights.
Peterson, in an amicus “friend of the court” brief, argues that because Smith “talks” through her custom design work, Colorado cannot force her to bring up the subject of same-sex marriage.
The other states besides Nebraska in the coalition are:
Arizona, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia.
Nebraska Examiner is part of States Newsroom, a network of news outlets supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nebraska Examiner maintains editorial independence. Contact editor Cate Folsom with questions: [email protected] Follow the Nebraska Examiner on Facebook and Twitter.
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