CHARLESTON (WVDN) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis, which defended the First Amendment rights of business owners.
“Free speech is just that: free speech. No one should be forced to say anything that is against their religious beliefs,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Small business owners should be allowed to run their businesses without fear of being shut down just because they choose to exercise their constitutional rights.”
The Attorney General was part of a 20-state coalition that filed an amicus brief which supported the position of 303 Creative.
Lorie Smith, who owns 303 Creative in Colorado, is a graphic artist and website designer. Smith wants to expand her business into wedding websites, but her religious beliefs prohibit her from promoting same-sex weddings.
Under Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals said that if Smith designs websites for opposite-sex weddings, she is required to create websites for same-sex weddings.
Smith sued, alleging that Colorado’s law violates her rights under the First Amendment.
In the brief, the coalition argued that states cannot use their public accommodations laws to force business owners to create custom speech.
Attorney General Morrisey joined the Nebraska- and Arizona-led brief with his counterparts in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.
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