Should Christian Business Owners Be Forced to Validate Same-Sex Marriage?
“We can all agree that a pacifist painter shouldn’t be forced to paint a pro-war mural, and a Democratic speechwriter shouldn’t be forced to write speeches for President Trump.” Or can we?
The state of Colorado and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) would have you believe that people of faith should not be allowed to open businesses if they plan to live out their convictions while running them.
Readers of The Washington Stand know the story of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, who is fighting his third legal battle to live out his faith. He won his first battle at our nation’s highest court in 2018, but the woke mob was not content to let him quietly live out his faith and his convictions through his business.
As Jack’s attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) continue to fight his newest legal battle, another Coloradan (and ADF client) is taking up the torch with Jack.
Like Jack, Lorie Smith, owner of 303 Creative, is an artist.
Both Phillips and Smith have had to contend with a legally dubious state law that “makes it unlawful for [business owners] to publish, display, or mail any communication stating that they will not design, create, or publish websites celebrating same-sex marriages.”
In essence, this is a restriction by the state government on what kind of speech is allowed and what isn’t. This, of course, flies in the face of the First Amendment, in which our Founding Fathers laid out the restrictions that the newly formed American government must abide by, for the benefit of freedom.
Monday, ADF’s CEO, president, and general counsel Kristen Waggoner, argued on behalf of Lorie and 303 Creative at the U.S. Supreme Court.
In her argument, Waggoner succinctly laid out the premise of the case to the justices: “Colorado agrees Ms. Smith creates speech, and the law undeniably affects her message. She is not asking this court to create new law, but to apply its precedent. Colorado first says this is just about a sale — but it’s not just about a sale. The state forces Ms. Smith to create speech, not simply sell it. Next, Colorado says it can compel speech on the same topic, but Ms. Smith believes opposite sex marriage honors Scripture and same-sex marriage contradicts it. If the government can label this speech equivalent, it can do so for any speech, whether religious or political.”
The timing of her oral arguments, like the weather in D.C. today, was chilling. As Waggoner argued before the court, the woke mob is pressuring House members to vote for the “(Dis)Respect for Marriage” Act that would supercharge the pressure that Christian business owners, like Smith and Phillips, are under to cave to the LGBT lobby. President Joe Biden has promised to sign this troubling legislation into law the moment it reaches his desk. Is this President Biden and congressional Democrats’ version of forcing a pacifist to paint a pro-war message?
Perhaps our president and the once-vaunted ACLU should take a moment to reflect on a kernel found in another compelled speech case (NIFLA v. Becerra, another ADF case), “The people lose when the government is the one deciding which ideas should prevail.”
Alice Chao serves as a Communications Manager at Family Research Council.