Whose freedom is it, anyway?
The recent US Supreme Court decision 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis is out, and you’d think it was Dred Scott 2. The case is simple:
—303 Creative is a web design company, owned by Lorie Smith. Ms. Smith accepts all possible clients, but refuses to design sites for gay weddings, because she says it violates her Christian beliefs.
—Aubrey Elenis is the Director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The State of Colorado—the government– is suing Smith, saying that her refusal to design gay wedding sites violates Colorado’s Public Accommodation Law, which forbids discrimination against people in the provision of services.
The public accommodation laws are civil-rights-era laws, born out of efforts like the Greensboro lunch counter sit in, to keep businesses from simply refusing to provide services to groups of people. Colorado added LGBTQ+ to its anti-discrimination laws.
Colorado argues that Smith’s website design can’t refuse to provide a service. Smith argued that it wasn’t a service per se—she’ll make websites for anyone, but she shouldn’t be forced to say things she doesn’t believe in. Note that an important part of our free speech law involves a ban on “forced speech.” You are free to speak, you are also free to not speak. Coerced speech is constitutionally forbidden.
Non-Discrimination versus free speech. Where do you draw the line?
The Supreme Court voting 6 to 3, held that web design was a form of artistry, hence speech. Colorado could not force Lorie Smith to use her talents to violate her religious beliefs to promote a gay wedding.
The reaction has been predictable, from the predictable people. President Joe Biden released a statement:
“In America, no person should face discrimination simply because of who they are or who they love. The Supreme Court’s disappointing decision in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis undermines that basic truth.”
Not a bit surprised. This from the same guy who told Black Americans that Republicans “will put y’all back in chains.” Democrats, media, Academe, all the usual suspects are howling ‘wolf.’ Gotta keep gay folks on the reservation.
BUT—lemme ask you this: remember the cake cases?
Imagine you own Goldstein’s Kosher Bakery, and a guy asks you to bake a cake like this:
Go to your local Applebee’s and tell them you want to set up a private party like this?
Stop by an African American owned bakery and order this one: (Go on, I triple-dog-dare you.)
Find a place with this flag outside
walk in, and order a cake that says “God Hates Fagz.”
And then see if your state Civil Rights Department will take your side. See if the media will give sympathetic coverage. Will President Joe Biden publicly state that he’s disappointed if the courts decline to force Jews to praise Hitler, Blacks to celebrate the KKK, and gay folks to repeat hostile slurs.
Hell no! Nor should they.
This is pure common sense, folks. All too uncommon. Questions to ask yourself: why does the State of Colorado want to force a Christian web designer to violate her beliefs? Would it support these other cases? If not, why not?
I’d grown up with a definition that freedom is the right to swing your arm as you like, until it hits the other fellow in the face. Today we seem to have legions of folks who define their freedom as the right to smack your face at will, while you can’t raise your arms from your sides.
This isn’t freedom—this is tyranny of bullies. Glad to see the Supreme Court not taking their side—even only 6 to 3.