Taxpayers burned by state's anti-Christian 'non-discrimination' agenda

 April 1, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Taxpayers in the state of Colorado are getting burned by the leftist agenda, pursued by Democrat Gov. Jared Polis and a Democrat-run legislature, to attack Christians with a so-called "non-discrimination" agenda that actually discriminates against people of faith.

A judge has ruled that the plaintiffs in the 303 Creative lawsuit that was decided recently by the Supreme Court are entitled to costs and attorneys' fees, and they have 90 days to submit a motion to the court for approval.

Such cases, by the time they are all the way through the high court, can accumulate tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of dollars in lawyers' time and costs.

The leftist state's failed attack was on Lorie Smith and her 303 Creative company, through which she intended to create websites for couples being married.

However, the state demanded that should she begin that service, she also must provide the same services to same-sex duos, in violation of her Christian faith.

She sued for the First Amendment violation demanded by the state and won.

The ADF, which worked on her case, explained the case background: "Lorie Smith is an artist who runs her own design studio, 303 Creative. She specializes in graphic and website design and loves to visually convey messages in every site she creates. Lorie started her own small business in 2012 so she could promote causes consistent with her beliefs and close to her heart, such as supporting children with disabilities, the beauty of marriage, overseas missions, animal shelters, and veterans. She was excited to expand her portfolio to create custom websites that celebrate marriage between a man and a woman, but Colorado made clear she wasn’t welcome in that space. A Colorado law censored what Lorie wanted to say and required her to create designs that violate her beliefs about marriage. Lorie works with people from all walks of life, including those who identify as LGBT. Lorie’s decisions about which projects to design are always based on what message she’s being asked to express, never who requests it. After realizing that Colorado was censoring her—and seeing Colorado use this same law to punish Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips—Lorie challenged the law to protect free speech."

The state of Colorado lost that case against Jack Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop, too. There, the Supreme Court based its decision on the state's "hostility" to Christianity.

Now a report from the Volokh Conspiracy explains that the case was moved down from the Supreme Court to the 10th Circuit Court, and from there down to Judge Philip Brimmer in district court.

His order ruled that the plaintiffs are "the prevailing parties" in the case and that means they "are entitled to recover their reasonable attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses for work related to litigation before the district court."

He also ruled that the First Amendment prohibits the anti-Christian activists in the state from enforcing their "Accommodations Clause" of the state's discriminatory "Anti-Discrimination Act."

Brimmer also ruled that the First Amendment bans Colorado from enforcing that law's "Communications Clause," which banned Smith even from stating her Christian beliefs.

That means Smith has permission now to post online the statement:

"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."

Brimmer's order also ruled that Colorado's "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" those discriminatory state provisions.

It was the Daily Caller News Foundation that pointed out the ruling was having a ripple effect immediately.

Because of the 303 Creative decision, a government attack on a Christian wedding photographer was dropped. And it is expected that the ruling will impace the case when the latest attack on Jack Phillips, from a lawyer demanding he violate his faith, reaches the Colorado Supreme Court.

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