A Denver appeals court has decided against a web designer, Lorie Smith, who refused to create wedding websites for same-sex couples and had sued the state of Colorado’s anti-discrimination law.
The ruling is the latest in a series of court cases around the U.S. revolving around if businesses can deny services to LGBTQ+ people as a matter of free speech, according to the Associated Press.
On Monday, the three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals of Denver rejected Smith’s appeal 2-1 to overturn a lower court’s ruling that threw out her suit.
The organization that represented Smith, the Alliance Defending Freedom, said the law went against her Christian religious beliefs.
Colorado’s Solicitor General Eric Olson argued that Smith shouldn’t be able to challenge the law because she had yet to start offering wedding websites.
The law Smith challenged is the same law at the center of the Jack Phillips suit that the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 2018. The court decided Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission had treated Phillips with anti-religious bias after he refused to bake for a same-sex couple getting married.
However, the court did not rule on whether business owners could use their religious views to refuse service to LGBTQ+ people, according to the AP.
The LGBTQ+ rights group Lambda Legal submitted a brief in support of the anti-discrimination law.
“This is a tremendous ruling that properly situates our cherished freedoms of speech and religion among the important rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, while also understanding that the State of Colorado has a compelling interest and responsibility to end discrimination in the commercial sphere,” Lambda Legal senior counsel Jennifer Pizer said in a statement after the ruling was announced.
“[It] really isn’t about cake or websites or flowers. It’s about protecting LGBTQ people and their families from being subjected to slammed doors, service refusals, and public humiliation in countless places – from fertility clinics to funeral homes, and everywhere in between.”