Supreme Court Uses Bogus Case to Open Pandora’s Box of Discrimination

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a powerful dissent that “the immediate, symbolic effect of the decision is to mark gays and lesbians for second-class status.”

The Supreme Court ruled Friday that a Colorado anti-discrimination law violates the First Amendment free speech rights of a website designer who doesn’t want to make wedding websites for same-sex couples because she objects to marriage equality. But the entire case is a farce, because the designer has never made a single wedding website and thereby hadn’t been sanctioned by the state—and she may have even lied about a gay couple ever requesting her services. But none of that stopped the conservative supermajority from using a case brought by a notorious Christian legal firm to open a literal Pandora’s box of discrimination.

The opinion in 303 Creative v. Elenis was 6-3, with Justice Neil Gorsuch writing the majority. Gorsuch argued that the Constitution bars the Colorado from “forcing a website designer to create expressive designs speaking messages with which the designer disagrees.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor authored the powerful dissent—joined by Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson—in which she wrote that “the immediate, symbolic effect of the decision is to mark gays and lesbians for second-class status.”


Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement that the decision “will bring harm and stigma to LGBTQ families and is yet another example of a Court that is out of touch with the supermajority of Americans who believe in fundamental freedoms and know that discrimination is wrong.”

Back to how we even got to this horrific ruling: Lorie Smith is a Colorado website designer who sued the state over its anti-discrimination law because she claimed it would make her accept gay clients. Again, she doesn’t make wedding websites, and it appears no same-sex couple has ever asked her to do so. Smith is represented in the case by rabidly anti-LGBTQ Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, the same group behind the lawsuit that overturned Roe v. Wade and, and the active litigation over the abortion pill and transgender athletes in school sports. ADF also litigated 2018’s Masterpiece Cakeshopand they didn’t get the ruling against Colorado they wanted, so they took another shot with Smith. (303 Creative is the same case where Justice Samuel Alito asked a hypothetical question that he thought was a stunning checkmate to libs: Does the Colorado law mean that a Black Santa photography business cannot refuse “a child who’s dressed up in a Ku Klux Klan outfit?” The state’s lawyer said of course it can, because being a KKK supporter isn’t a protected class like race, sex, gender, or disability status.)

Ellis said the case was “part of a coordinated effort from groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom to leverage corrupt, extremist justices to roll back rights of marginalized Americans.”