Washington DC [US], July 1 (ANI): The United States Supreme Court has ruled that certain businesses can refuse to provide services to same-sex weddings. This comes as the latest blow to LGBTQ rights in the country, Al Jazeera reported.
The US Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision on Friday, sided with web designer Lorie Smith, who had sought an exemption from a Colorado law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and other factors.
Smith, an evangelical Christian who opposes marriage between anyone other than a man and a woman, sued Colorado’s civil rights commission and other state officials in 2016, saying she feared being punished under the state’s public accommodations law for refusing to serve gay weddings, as per Al Jazeera.
Smith and her lawyers argued that being required to provide her services for a same-sex wedding would inherently force her to express messages contradicting her Christian beliefs and violate her right to free speech under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
According to some advocates, Smith’s stance infringes on the rights of LGBTQ people to seek goods and services from businesses without discrimination.
Writing for the Supreme Court majority on Friday, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch sided with Smith. “As surely as Ms Smith seeks to engage in protected First Amendment speech,” Gorsuch wrote, “Colorado seeks to compel speech Ms Smith does not wish to provide.”
“The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands,” the decision also reads, as per Al Jazeera.
The ruling focused on a limited category of commercial activities, like artists or businesses creating content.
Liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonio Sotomayor in a dissenting opinion said the ruling risks being applied to any business as part of a wider “backlash” to moves towards LGBTQ equality in the country. (ANI)
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