303 Creative Case Raises Concerns About Other Forms of Discrimination
A Supreme Court ruling made based on a fraudulent case has the potential to do widespread damage.
As news the 303 Creative Supreme Court (303 Creative, LLC v. Elenis) case gets disseminated, many people in the LGBTQ+ community find themselves fearing discrimination from so-called “expressive” professionals. These include photographers, web designers, and other artists who profit from their craft.
Lorie Smith, the owner of 303 Creative, wanted to design websites for weddings. However, she wanted to refuse providing this service to same-sex couples on the grounds that doing so would go against her religion. After Smith discovered that doing so would be considered discriminatory, she sued the state of Colorado. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court on the grounds that creative and artistic professionals’ refusal of certain types of work falls under the First Amendment.
A similar case (Masterpiece Cake Shop, LTD. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission) took place in 2017. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop against Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a couple who ordered a custom wedding cake from this bakery. The owner declined to make the cake, but offered alternatives, such as party cakes or birthday cakes for the couple. The Supreme Court ruled that the shop owner’s right to free exercise of his religion superseded the couple’s right to seek services from a business without fear of discrimination.
In the 303 Creative case, however, the couple that sought Lorie Smith’s services didn’t exist. Rather, Smith is thought to have fabricated a request from a man named Stewart and his supposed groom-to-be, Mike. After the fact, a reporter discovered that Stewart never asked her to design any sort of a website. In addition to that, Stewart was married to a woman in 2016 and has stayed with her ever since.
Aside from being based on a fraudulent case, this case isn’t limited to permitting anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Justice Sotomayor pointed out that it could allow businesses across the nation to discriminate against prospective customers based on race, religion, ethnic origin, or disability. In other words, the 303 Creative case could herald the return of “Whites Only” signs and more examples of overt hatred towards minorities in the US.