In a 6-3 ruling, which appears to have implications for local laws in Alaska, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that a Colorado web designer has the right to refuse to create websites for same-sex ‘weddings.’

Hailed as a victory for free speech, the case involved a Christian web designer who challenged a Colorado non-discrimination law that was being used to force her to produce content she fundamentally disagreed with.

Owner of 303 Creative, Lorie Smith operates her company in accord with her Christian faith, which includes the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

The high court’s majority ruling stated that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution “prohibits Colorado from forcing a website designer to create expressive designs speaking messages with which the designer disagrees.”

The three dissenting justices were Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The ruling also calls into question elements of non-discrimination laws in the Alaska cities of Anchorage, Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan.

In upholding Smith’s free speech rights, the majority affirmed, “All manner of speech – from ‘pictures, films, paintings, drawings, and engravings,’ to ‘oral utterance and the printed word’ – qualify for the First Amendment’s protections; no less can hold true when it comes to speech like Ms. Smith’s conveyed over the Internet.”

The ruling went on to note that the state cannot demand or compel Smith to use her speech in a way that violates her beliefs.

To do otherwise “would allow the government to force all manner of artists, speechwriters, and others whose services involve speech to speak what they do not believe on pain of penalty. The government could require ‘an unwilling Muslim movie director to make a film with a Zionist message,’ or ‘an atheist muralist to accept a commission celebrating Evangelical zeal,’ so long as they would make films or murals for other members of the public with different messages,” the majority ruling stated.

Conservatives note that the court’s decision seems to have wide-reaching implications – and relief – for business owners in similar situations, such as Colorado baker Jack Phillips, whom the State of Colorado tried to force to offer same-sex “wedding” cakes.

The ruling also calls into question elements of non-discrimination laws in the Alaska cities of Anchorage, Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan.

The most similar case appears to be a Ketchikan law that was passed in 2020, after a Christian florist declined to create floral arrangements for a same-sex “wedding.”

Heather Dalin, owner of Heavenly Creations in Ketchikan, told the city council that while she serves members of the LGBTQ community, she could not – in good conscience – create floral arrangements specifically intended to celebrate same-sex “marriages.”

“When it comes to the holy sacrament of marriage, God’s word is clear,” Dalin told the Ketchikan City Council. “Marriage is one of the seven sacraments where the Lord Jesus Christ is present. For you to pass an unnecessary ordinance to try and force myself to participate in a ceremony that violates not only God’s holy truth, but also strips me of my rights as an American tax-paying, law-abiding citizen is unreasonable.”

In addition to ruling in favor of the Colorado web designer, the Supreme Court has issued a slew of other recent opinions that conservatives are celebrating. This week, the high court struck down race-based affirmative action policies in college admissions, as well as President Bidens scheme to bail out student loans. It also ruled in favor of a Christian postal worker who was punished for declining to work on Sundays, a day Christians have historically set aside to rest and worship God.

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Supreme Court rules web designer doesn’t have to create sites for same-sex ‘weddings’

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.