The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a wedding website designer who refused to create websites for same-sex weddings. The case, _Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda_, was decided on June 3, 2023. The Court’s 6-3 ruling held that the designer, Lorie Smith, had a First Amendment right to refuse to create the websites because doing so would have violated her religious beliefs about marriage.
The case was closely watched by both sides of the religious liberty and LGBTQ rights debate. Supporters of Smith’s right to refuse service argued that the First Amendment protects the right of individuals and businesses to express their religious beliefs, even if those beliefs conflict with the government’s anti-discrimination laws. Opponents of Smith’s right to refuse service argued that the government has a compelling interest in protecting the rights of LGBTQ people from discrimination, and that this interest outweighs Smith’s religious beliefs.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in _Altitude Express_ is a significant victory for religious conservatives and a setback for LGBTQ rights advocates. The ruling is likely to have a ripple effect throughout the country, as it could embolden other businesses to refuse service to LGBTQ people on religious grounds. It remains to be seen how the ruling will be applied in future cases, but it is clear that the Supreme Court has opened the door to more discrimination against LGBTQ people.
In a concurring opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that the ruling should not be interpreted as a “license to discriminate.” He said that the ruling only applies to cases where businesses are creating custom products or services that express the business owner’s personal beliefs. Gorsuch said that businesses that provide “standard” products or services, such as selling cakes or flowers, cannot refuse service to LGBTQ people on religious grounds.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in _Altitude Express_ is a complex and controversial decision. It is likely to be debated for years to come.