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Court Denies Colorado Graphic Designer Relief from the Same Law Used Against Jack Phillips

By Sarah Kramer posted on:
October 17, 2017

Lorie Smith has a special appreciation for Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips’ talent in designing custom cake creations. That appreciation not only comes from her background as a web and graphic designer, but also from personal experience. He did, after all, design her wedding cake and a cake for her child’s first birthday.

So, she followed Jack’s case with concern when Jack was sued for politely declining to design a custom cake for a same-sex wedding—instead referring them to a different shop. When Lorie saw what was happening to Jack and other artists around the country, she realized the same thing could happen to her ability to create custom wedding websites.

Unfortunately, a federal court ruled that Lorie is not allowed to challenge the law that forces her to use her artistic talents to promote same-sex ceremonies if she creates custom websites and graphic celebrating weddings between one man and one woman. But this is not the end. Lorie is considering appealing the decision, and Jack’s case will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this fall.

That means there are other opportunities for this bad law to be struck down.

You see, Lorie is a Christian creative professional like Jack, and she strives to glorify God through her business, 303 Creative, a graphic and web design company. That means that Lorie cannot take on every project that is asked of her, and she wants to explain as much on her website.

But the very law that is being used against Jack could also be used against Lorie if she declines to design a website that promotes a message that violates her faith.

Specifically, Lorie has felt called to begin designing wedding websites, highlighting the beauty of marriage as the Bible defines it – as the union of one man and one woman. And if she designs custom websites for opposite-sex marriages, under law she must also design wedding websites for same-sex couples.

But her conscience would not allow her to do so.

Because of this law, Lorie has held off on going into the wedding industry so that she is not forced to promote a message that contradicts her faith. In other words, Lorie has the option between silencing her own speech or being forced to speak a government-mandated message.

Not great options. And not constitutional options, either.

“Artists shouldn’t be threatened with punishment for deciding, as artists always have, which messages they are going to promote or not promote,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs.

That’s why we must continue to fight against this law – both if Lorie decides to appeal and on Jack’s behalf at the Supreme Court.

To learn more about other creative professionals across the country who are fighting similar laws, visit the link below. 
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Sarah Kramer

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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