Wedding planning website cannot refuse to serve same-sex couples

A Web-based graphic design company that intends to design custom websites for customers planning weddings sought to place a statement explaining the owner's intent not to serve same-sex couples. A federal court has held that this violates the state's public accommodations law because it constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, 2019 WL 2161666 (D.Colo. 2019).

Lorie Smith claimed she was not discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation but on the basis of her religous beliefs that do not recognize same sex marriage. The court rejected this argument and held that denying her the ability to post this statement did not violate her constitutionallly-protected free speech rights since government power to prohibit discrimination necessarily includes the power to regulate speech that indicates an intent to engage in discrimination. The court also held that Employment Division v. Smith precluded her claim since the antidiscrimination law was a neutral law of general application and was enacted for reasons other than religous suppression.