US Supreme Court to decide whether it’s OK to discriminate against LGBT+ customers

The US Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a Christian woman who designs websites can refuse to work with same-sex couples despite a Colorado anti-discrimination law.

The court will hear a claim by business owner Lorie Smith, who is appealing a lower court ruling that rejected her bid for an exemption from a state civil rights law requiring businesses to be open to all customers regardless of their sexual orientation.

In July 2021, the US appeals court ruled against Smith, who creates custom wedding websites, after she claimed she couldn’t be forced to produce websites for same-sex marriages – a practice she opposed on religious grounds.

The Supreme Court will hear the case, 303 Creative v Elenis, No 21-476, and decide “whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment”.

According to the New York Times, the case will be heard by the court during its next term, which starts in October.

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