The Supreme Court has determined that a business can refuse to serve someone simply because they are LGBTQ+.
The nation's highest court sided with a web designer in 303 Creative, Inc. v. Elenis, who argued that making websites for queer weddings would violate her religious beliefs, and therefore her First Amendment rights. Except, no LGBTQ+ customer asked her to make a website for their wedding — in fact, she had never made a website for a wedding at all.
Despite this, the court determined in a 6-3 decision that an anti-discrimination law in Colorado, which included protections for LGBTQ+ people, does not apply to services that are “expressive,” “artistic,” and “customized."
Falling along party lines, conservative Supreme Court justices wrote that "the First Amendment prohibits Colorado from forcing a website designer to create expressive designs speaking messages with which the designer disagrees."
The case was actually brought on Smith's behalf by the same conservative group -- the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) -- that brought the 2018 case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado in which a Colorado baker refused to make a cake for a queer wedding. The court at the time ruled 7-2 in favor of the baker.
The ADF is a group dubbed a “Christian legal army” by its founder, which has a long history of opposing civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ people. The Southern Poverty Law Center categorizes it as an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group.
The nonprofit writes that the ADF is "a legal advocacy and training group that has supported the recriminalization of sexual acts between consenting LGBTQ adults in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has contended that LGBTQ people are more likely to engage in pedophilia; and claims that a 'homosexual agenda' will destroy Christianity and society."
The beliefs of one woman and a hate group have now set a precedent that U.S. businesses can legally deny their services to LGBTQ+ people under the First Amendment.
Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor penned the dissenting opinion, joined by liberal Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson. They wrote: "Today, the Court, for the first time in its history, grants a business open to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class."