Christian graphic designer sues for right to discriminate against imaginary gay clients
A Christian graphic designer in Colorado is suing for right to discriminate against gay clients who don’t actually exist.
Lorie Smith, a self-identified “graphic designer” who claims to create custom wedding websites in the state, filed a lawsuit this week in a bid to demolish LGBT rights protections in Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act.
In the lawsuit, backed by anti-gay evangelical group Alliance Defending Freedom, Smith claims that she is at risk of action because she would not feel comfortable serving gay clients due to her religious beliefs.
Bizarrely, the lawsuit does not specify that any gay couple has actually asked Smith to provide her services via design firm 303 Creative LLC, instead postulating it as a hypothetical future scenario.
It claims: “Lorie wants to use her talents and the expressive platform she has in 303 Creative to celebrate and promote God’s design for marriage as an institution between one man and one woman.
“Lorie believes that God is calling her to promote and celebrate His design for marriage by designing and creating custom wedding websites for weddings between one man and one woman only.
“As part of discharging her religious duty, Lorie also desires to explain her religious beliefs about marriage on her website and in communications with prospective clients, including why those beliefs prevent her from designing websites celebrating and promoting same-sex weddings.”
It contends: “Colorado law also provides that if Lorie and 303 Creative design, create, and publish wedding websites celebrating and promoting marriages between one man and one woman, they must also willingly design, create, and publish wedding websites celebrating and promoting same-sex marriages.”
There is no suggestion in the lawsuit that any gay couple has actually asked her to make a wedding website.
In fact, Ms Smith’s public design portfolio does not contain a simple example of a ‘custom wedding website’ of the kind that the lawsuit claims she specialises in.
However, her portfolio does include a number of campaign works created for Colorado Republicans Kevin Van Winkle and Cole Wist, both strong political opponents of anti-discrimination laws, as well as a website for hardline evangelical group ‘Stand For Faith’.
We’re sure that’s just a good-faith coincidence, and it does not at all smell slightly fishy.