SCOTUS to decide where freedom stands

SCOTUS to decide where freedom stands

SCOTUS to decide where freedom stands

A legal advocate for religious freedom says it's critical that the Supreme Court get it right this year when it rules on the 303 Creative case.

303 Creative is a company in Colorado owned by Lorie Smith, a graphic designer who wants to make wedding websites. The problem is she wants her business to regard the biblical definition of marriage, and she maintains that she should not be forced to express messages with which she disagrees.

Jake Warner is an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the law firm representing Smith and cake artist Jake Phillips in their cases.

"We're hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court will give guidance in the 303 Creative case affirming the right of all Americans to say what they believe without fear of government punishment," he tells AFN. "Such a ruling would protect all artists, including Jack Phillips."

Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop declined to create a cake celebrating a so-called gender transition. In addition to conflicting with science, attempting to change genders goes against Phillips' religious beliefs, and like Smith, Warner says he should not be forced to express messages with which he does not agree.

Warner, Jake (ADF attorney) Warner

"Free speech is a fundamental right here in America, and if we don't have brave people like Jack Phillips standing up and saying that the government has no right to compel us to say things that we don't believe, then freedom is at severe risk," the attorney warns. "That's why it's critical that people like Jack and Lorie stand up and say, 'Free speech is for everyone; the government can't force us to say things we don't believe.'"

Jack Phillips went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017 for declining a request that he make a cake for a same-sex wedding. The Supreme Court ruled in his favor in 2018, saying he had been treated unfairly. The issue of whether Phillips had to create the cake, however, remained unsettled.

In his most recent legal battle, Phillips lost at the Colorado Court of Appeals last week -- a decision ADF is appealing to the Colorado Supreme Court.