Ted Cruz to lead amicus brief on possible First Amendment violations
Colorado woman “forced” to provide services to same-sex couples
AUSTIN, Texas (KCBD) - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is leading an amicus brief addressing possible violations of a woman’s freedom of speech and freedom of religion in the case of 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis.
Lorie Smith owns 303 Creative, a graphic design company in Colorado that designs websites, marketing campaigns, graphics and events. Smith wished to expand her design business to include wedding websites. However, citing religious beliefs, Smith refused to design websites for weddings involving same-sex couples. On her own website, she wished to clearly state her stance against same-sex marriage.
However, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) prohibits both of these practices. The law states businesses open to the public or offering services to the public cannot refuse service to customers based on a protected characteristic. Business owners also cannot promote messages communicating the idea that people who identify with a protected trait will not be welcomed at their business.
These traits include:
- race, creed, skin color, disability, gender, transgender status, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, religion, national origin or ancestry.
Smith’s case is similar to another court case: Masterpiece Cakeshop LTD, et al v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, et al.
Jack Phillips, owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, refused to create a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding due to his Christian-based beliefs. The couple filed a report with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission citing CADA. The organization referred the case to Colorado’s Administrative Law Judge who ruled in favor of the same-sex couple.
The brief, led by Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, argues Smith’s First Amendment rights have been violated. Smith should not be “forced” to “design and publish websites promoting messages that violate her beliefs.”
The brief calls on the Supreme Court to acknowledge these core civil liberties as protected portions of the Constitution.
The brief has support from 20 senators and 38 members of the House of Representatives, according to the Ted Cruz Press Office.
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