District Court Judgment in 303 Creative v. Elenis (the Wedding Web Site Design Case)

March 28, 2024   |   Tags: ,

Following the Supreme Court's remand to the Tenth Circuit, which in turn led to the remand to district court, Chief Judge Philip Brimmer (D. Colo.) rendered the following order Tuesday:

It is ORDERED that plaintiffs are the prevailing parties in this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1988(b). Plaintiffs and their counsel are entitled to recover their reasonable attorney's fees, costs, and expenses for work related to litigation before the district court. It is further

ORDERED that the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause prohibits Colorado from enforcing the Accommodation Clause of Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act ("CADA"), Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-34-601(2)(a)), to compel plaintiffs to create custom websites celebrating or depicting same-sex weddings or otherwise create or depict original, expressive, graphic or website designs inconsistent with her beliefs regarding same-sex marriage. It is further

ORDERED that the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause prohibits Colorado from enforcing CADA's Communication Clause to prevent plaintiffs from posting the following statement on her website or from making materially similar statements on her website and directly to prospective clients:

I firmly believe that God is calling me to this work. Why? I am personally convicted that He wants me – during these uncertain times for those who believe in biblical marriage – to shine His light and not stay silent. He is calling me to stand up for my faith, to explain His true story about marriage, and to use the talents and business He gave me to publicly proclaim and celebrate His design for marriage as a life-long union between one man and one woman.

These same religious convictions that motivate me also prevent me from creating websites promoting and celebrating ideas or messages that violate my beliefs. So I will not be able to create websites for same-sex marriages or any other marriage that is not between one man and one woman. Doing that would compromise my Christian witness and tell a story about marriage that contradicts God's true story of marriage – the very story He is calling me to promote.

It is further ORDERED that defendants, their officers, agents, servants, employees, attorneys, and those acting in active concert or participation with them who receive actual notice of this order are permanently enjoined from enforcing:

[a.] CADA's Accommodations Clause to compel plaintiffs to create custom websites celebrating or depicting same-sex weddings or otherwise to create or depict original, expressive, graphic or website designs inconsistent with her beliefs regarding same-sex marriage; and

[b.] CADA's Communication Clause to prevent plaintiffs from posting the above statement on her website and from making materially similar statements on her website and directly to prospective clients….

For more on the reasoning, see the full order. The quick summary of the underlying factual dispute:

Plaintiff Lorie Smith, through her business, plaintiff 303 Creative LLC …, offers a variety of creative services, including website design, to the public. Ms. Smith intends to expand the scope of 303 Creative's services to include the design, creation, and publication of wedding websites. However, plaintiffs will decline any request to design, create, or promote content that promotes any conception of marriage other than marriage between one man and one woman. Plaintiffs have designed an addition to 303 Creative's website that includes a statement that they will not create websites "celebrating same-sex marriages or any other marriage that contradicts God's design for marriage."

The post District Court Judgment in <i>303 Creative v. Elenis</i> (the Wedding Web Site Design Case) appeared first on Reason.com.


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