The Supreme Court of the United States is expected to rule in the coming days on a case that could have problematic derivations in terms of individual rights.
The case involves a Christian graphic artist who refuses to design a website for gay marriage.
The decision the judge makes in the case will not only concern the designer and the couple, but also a potential window of discrimination that could be opened against blacks, immigrants, Jews, Muslims and other minorities, if the ruling party follows suit. be friendly The designer’s claims call liberals and civil liberties groups.
If the ruling favors the plaintiff couple, conservative groups argue that painters, photographers, writers and musicians could be forced to act contrary to their faith and curtail their freedom of choice.
The case marks the second time in five years that the Supreme Court has dealt with a business owner who says his religion prevents him from working for a gay wedding. This time, most experts expect the court to be dominated 6-3 by conservatives and especially supporters of the religious plaintiffs, in favor of Laurie Smith, the case’s designer.
But the American Civil Liberties Union, in a report filed with the court, called Smith’s argument “carte blanche to discriminate whenever a company’s product or service can be characterized as ‘expressive,'” one of the companies’ Category that can range from furnishings and bedding to landscaping. Those businesses, he said, could advertise: “We do not serve blacks, gays or Muslims.”
Smith’s attorneys at the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) say that’s not true. “I think it is disingenuous and untrue to say that a victory for Lawrie in this case would take us back to a time when people were denied access to essential goods and services because of who they were,” said an ADF lawyer. Kelly Fidorek said. and added: “Lowry’s victory here would never allow such conduct as they are raising some hypotheses.”
Smith’s case is that of baker Jack Phillips, who objected to baking a wedding cake for a gay couple. The couple sued, but the case ended with a limited judgment. Phillips’ attorney, Kristen Wagner, is defending Smith in the high court.
Under Colorado law, Smith must provide his services to the public without discrimination and can face various fines and penalties if he does so. Smith says that the law violates the First Amendment to the Constitution by forcing him to do something against his belief and will.
Against Smith are the federal administration and 20 mostly Democratic states, including New York, California and Pennsylvania, which have submitted 75 reports to the court attesting to the dangers of discrimination that would become commonplace if the couple ruled opposite. The one who feels hurt.
“A bakery whose owner was opposed to mixed-race relationships could refuse to bake wedding cakes for interracial couples,” the report filed by the states. A “real estate agency whose owner opposes racial integration may refuse to represent black couples seeking to buy homes in a predominantly white neighborhood; or a portrait studio whose owner opposes interracial adoption, that may refuse to take photographs of white parents with their adopted black children.”
Those race-based precedents can be especially striking with two black judges on the court, Clarence Thomas and Ketanji Brown Jackson, who are married to white spouses, and Amy Coney Barrett, another judge who has two adopted children. There are those who are black. But the states also provided examples related to a person’s national origin. “A tattoo studio can tattoo the American flag on customers born in the United States and refuse to sell similar tattoos to immigrants,” he said.
Brian Gorod of the Center for Constitutional Accountability, representing a group of law professors, hypothesized other examples of what might happen if Smith is successful on the High Court.
“A web designer may refuse to create a web page celebrating the retirement of a female CEO in violation of Colorado’s sex discrimination ban if they believe that all women have a duty to stay and raise their children. Similarly, a furniture maker who considers his furniture to be artistically expressive may refuse to serve an interracial couple if they believe that interracial couples should be able to live together in a home. should not be shared. Or an architect can refuse to design a house for an interfaith couple,” he told the court.
Smith’s supporters, however, including 20 mostly Republican-leaning states, say ruling against him also has negative consequences. An attorney for the CatholicVote.org Education Fund told the court that if the lower court’s ruling is upheld and Smith loses, “a Jewish choreographer will have to perform a theatrical performance at Easter, a Catholic singer at a Christmas wedding.” Gotta do it.” Two divorcees and a Muslim who runs an advertising agency won’t refuse to make a campaign for an alcoholic beverage company.”
The Jewish Religious Freedom Coalition put it differently, telling the court that a Jewish baker might have to comply with the request of a neo-Nazi who wants a cake that reads “Happy November 9th!” – A reference to Kristallnacht, the night in 1938 when the Nazis burned down synagogues and vandalized Jewish businesses throughout Germany and Austria.
A constitutional law expert at Georgetown University, Alan B. Morrison stressed that the Smiths currently do not have wedding websites, making the matter particularly speculative. Nevertheless, Morrison scoffed at some of the what-if scenarios that the two sides posed, suggesting that they are “a bit of a stretch”.