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SCOTUS agrees to hear case about website designer who refuses to make wedding websites for same-sex couples

Discrimination

This morning, the Supreme Court granted review in 303 Creative v. Elenis, a case involving a website designer who refuses to make custom wedding videos for same-sex couples. The case is somewhat of a follow-up to Masterpiece Cakeshop, which involved a similar question based on a different product (wedding cakes), but the Court ultimately didn’t decide the constitutional issue at stake in that case.

In the case granted today, the Court reformulated the question presented in the original petition. They’ll answer the question: “Whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.” The case will have a huge impact on the ability of businesses to refuse service to LGBT people, even in states with antidiscrimination laws meant to protect them.

It’s too late for the case to be argued this term, so it will likely be argued sometime in or after October. When Masterpiece Cakeshop was decided, Justices Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were still on the Court, which likely allowed the Justices to reach a narrower decision. Now, the Court is solidly conservative, with more conservative Justices nominated by President Trump replacing Kennedy and Ginsburg.

A decision is likely the following June.

UPDATE: Equality Case Files has more, including the briefs from the lower court decisions in the case. Thanks, as always, to them for providing this.

8 Comments

  • 1. VIRick  |  February 22, 2022 at 1:09 pm

    Tamaulipas Congress Is Voting on Marriage Equality and Gender Identity Today

    Per Elefante Blanco MX:

    La comunidad LGBT de Tamaulipas está en el Congreso de Tamaulipas para exigir las reformas que permitan el matrimonio igualitario y el cambio de identidad de género.
    https://twitter.com/MxElefante/status/14962111289

    The Tamaulipas LGBT community is in the Tamaulipas Congress to demand reforms that will allow marriage equality and change of gender identity.

    Per Ulisex! Mgzn de Monterrey:

    En este momento, se esta llevando a cabo la sesion legislativa en la que los diputados del Congreso de Tamaulipas votarán la iniciativa de matrimonio igualitario.
    https://twitter.com/UlisexMgzn

    At this time, the legislative session is taking place in which the deputies of the Tamaulipas Congress will vote on the marriage equality initiative.

    Per Elefante Blanco MX:

    En este momento, la diputada Nancy Ruiz (Morena) presenta iniciativa a favor del matrimonio igualitario en Tamaulipas. La comunidad LGBT aplaude la exposición de motivos.
    https://twitter.com/MxElefante/status/14962269787

    At this time, Deputy Nancy Ruiz (Morena) is presenting the initiative in favor of marriage equality in Tamaulipas. The LGBT community applauds the explanatory statement.

  • 2. Randolph_Finder  |  February 22, 2022 at 11:33 pm

    According to Spanish Language Wikipedia (https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anexo:LXV_Legislatura_del_Congreso_del_Estado_de_Tamaulipas) has 17 from Morena, 15 PAN, 2 PRI, 1 Movimiento Ciudadano and 1 Partido del Trabajo. So Morena + MC = 18. I have no idea where José Braña Mojica of Partido del Trabajo (Labor Party(?)) is on the issue. (I'm *guessing* in favor since PT has generally been allied with Morena on the left, but that's just what I've gotten from Google Searches)

  • 3. VIRick  |  February 22, 2022 at 3:20 pm

    El Salvador: Constitutional Court Orders Legal Recognition of Gender Identity

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Constitutional Court of El Salvador has ordered the Legislative Assembly to update the law to allow for name changes for transgender persons based on their gender identity, and has given the Assembly a one-year deadline for compliance.

    Supremo Salvadoreño Ordena a Congreso Reconocer Identidad de Personas Trans

    El 22 febrero 2022, la Sala de lo Constitucional de la Corte Suprema de Justicia (CSJ) de El Salvador ordenó al Congreso emitir una reforma que permita el cambio de nombre en razón de la identidad de género, según informó este martes la organización Comunicando y Capacitando Trans (Comcavis Trans).

    "La Asamblea Legislativa deberá emitir la reforma que sea necesaria para prever las condiciones que debe reunir toda persona que desee cambiar su nombre para que sea compatible con su identidad de género," señala parte del fallo.

    Los magistrados constitucionalistas dieron a los diputados el plazo de un año para emitir esta reforma a la Ley del Nombre de la Persona Natural.
    https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/el-salvador-lgtbi_su

    Salvadoran Supreme Court Orders Congress to Recognize Identity of Transgender Persons

    On February 22, 2022, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) of El Salvador ordered Congress to issue a reform that allows the change of name based on gender identity, according to the organization Comunicando y Training Trans (Comcavis Trans).

    "The Legislative Assembly must issue the reform that is necessary to provide for the conditions that must be met by any person who wishes to change their name so that it is compatible with their gender identity," states part of the ruling.

    The constitutional justices gave the deputies a one-year term to issue this reform to the Law of the Name of the Natural Person.

  • 4. VIRick  |  February 22, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    "303 Creative v. Elenis" to be Reviewed by the US Supreme Court

    Here is what was written before, back on 4 November 2019, regarding the lack of merit presented by this artificially conjured, "pre-emptive strike" case:

    Colorado: ADF Hate Group Challenge Appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

    A Colorado website designer has filed an appeal with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the state’s anti-discrimination law, which she says will not allow her to refuse to make wedding websites for same-sex couples. Court documents from last Friday, 26 October 2019, obtained by the Denver-based "Westword," show that Lorie Smith, of 303 Creative, does not actually make wedding websites yet, nor have any gay clients explicitly asked her to do so.

    But in 2016, she filed suit claiming that she wanted to post a notice on her website saying that as a Christian, she “will not be able to create websites for same-sex marriages or any other marriage that is not between one man and one woman.” Smith knew, however, that doing so would likely be a violation of Colorado’s statute banning LGBTQ discrimination. Instead of waiting for the chance to deny services to a gay couple, Smith “decided to challenge the law in court before it was enforced against her," as her attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom write on the group's website.

    Federal district courts repeatedly ruled against Smith, with Judge Marcia S. Krieger dryly noting in September 2017 that “the Court cannot determine the imminent likelihood that anyone, much less a same-sex couple, will request [Smith’s] services.” Krieger later, in her 2019 dismissal of the case, observed that Smith was using her challenge to one clause of the statute — which would ban the posting of a notice saying she intended to discriminate — “as a Trojan Horse to challenge the Accommodations clause indirectly.” In other words, Smith was trying, and failing, to target the part of the law that bans the denial of goods and services to LGBTQ people by objecting to the clause that bans communicating about doing so.

  • 5. VIRick  |  February 22, 2022 at 8:41 pm

    Trinidad/Tobago: First Transgender Senator Duly Sworn In

    On 15 February 2022, a well-known LGBT activist in Trinidad/Tobago has become the country’s first openly transgender senator. Local media reports note that Jowelle De Souza is filling-in (as the suplente or alternate) for the ailing Sen. Jayanti Lutchmedial, representing San Fernando (West), the country's second-most-populous city. Both are members the United National Congress, a center-left opposition party.

    In 1993, De Souza became the first person to undergo sex-reassignment surgery in Trinidad. In 1997, she became the first trans person to file a lawsuit against the country’s government. At the time, De Souza alleged that police officers who arrested her during a protest violated her constitutional rights when they harassed her because of her gender identity. She settled this lawsuit out-of-court, and donated the proceeds to charity.
    https://www.washingtonblade.com/2022/02/21/trinid
    https://trinidadexpress.com/news/local/de-souza-m

    She is also Hispanic (Portuguese) in a nation with an unwritten social rule that every possible ethnicity and skin tone must be represented in a very delicate proportional balance that mirrors the wider society. Said rule applies to every aspect of government and business, public and private.

  • 6. VIRick  |  February 23, 2022 at 1:55 pm

    A Taiwanese-Japanese Same-Sex Couple Sue to Marry Each Other

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Because Japan does not recognize same-sex marriage, the application from the Taiwanese-Japanese couple, A-Shu and Eizaburo Ariyoshi, to register their marriage in Taipei on 7 May 2021 was rejected by the Household Registration Office in the city's Da'an District, even though a Taiwanese-Macanese couple in the same situation won their legal case on the previous day.

    After going through the government's internal appeals process, A-Shu and Ariyoshi filed suit on 23 December 2021 at the Taipei High Administrative Court, the same court that ruled in favor of the Taiwan-Macau couple, for their right to be married in Taiwan, according to the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights.
    https://focustaiwan.tw/society/202202230022

  • 7. VIRick  |  February 23, 2022 at 2:42 pm

    India: National Medical Commission Already Forbids "Conversion Therapy"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The National Medical Commission forbids anti-LGBT "conversion therapy," following the 2021 ruling from the Kerala High Court:

    Any doctor found engaged in "conversion therapy" — a controversial gender and sexual reorientation practice often slammed as pseudo-science — is already liable to be prosecuted for professional misconduct, the National Medical Commission (NMC) told the Madras High Court in a different case involving a lesbian couple alleging harassment by the police and their parents.
    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/nationa

  • 8. VIRick  |  February 24, 2022 at 12:57 pm

    Baja California: Vociferously Anti-LGBT Bishop of Mexicali Is Dead

    Per "La Jornada," el 23 de febrero 2022:

    Baja California: Fallece Obispo de Mexicali por Complicaciones de COVID-19

    El obispo de Mexicali, José Isidro Guerrero Macías, fue internado por COVID-19 desde el 13 de enero 2022; polémicas fueron sus posturas en contra del aborto, el matrimonio igualitario, y la identidad de género.
    https://www.jornada.com.mx/notas/2022/02/23/estad

    The bishop of Mexicali, José Isidro Guerrero Macías, was hospitalized for COVID-19 since 13 January 2022; his polemic postures against abortion, marriage equality, and gender identity were controversial.

    It is extra-ordinary that in an obituary written in a local Baja California newspaper announcing his demise, that those words are the best that could be found to be said of him after his 24 years as bishop of Mexicali.

    Despite his incessant rantings and provocations during said 24 years, today the state of Baja California, by law, as passed by the State Congress, now enjoys all three: legalized abortion, marriage equality, and gender identity (auto-percibido), with marriage equality being further guaranteed in the state constitution. (Y ha muerto la bruja malvada, le dijo Dorotea a Toto.)

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