Last week, a website-design company and its owner sued the state of Colorado claiming that a law prohibiting discrimination violates their constitutional rights. The business wants to deny wedding website-design services to same-sex couples based on the owner’s religious beliefs. The catch? The company, 303 Creative, hasn’t even launched its wedding website-design services yet and so, obviously, no LGBT couples have even asked her company to design a website.
The freedom of religion, of course, means this business owner can hold any belief about marriage she wants. But, it doesn’t give a company the right to ignore laws protecting people against discrimination.
This might sound familiar. Just last week, we wrote about the business that also preemptively sued the City of Phoenix claiming the city’s nondiscrimination law violated its constitutional rights. In Phoenix, it was a calligraphy studio that wanted to turn away same-sex couples seeking wedding invitations. And like in Colorado, the business never fielded a request for wedding services from an LGBT couple either.
Here's something else that’s familiar: Alliance Defending Freedom. The organization represents both businesses in these suits. In fact, ADF authors bad “religious freedom” bills in state legislatures (and then defends them in court); often represents businesses that have turned away LGBT couples and represents a pharmacy that refused to fill prescriptions for birth control under the guise of religion; has sent letters to government officials who issue marriage licenses insisting the clerks could cite their religious beliefs to refuse to serve same-sex couples; has drafted school policies sanctioning discrimination against transgender students; and has even manufactured lawsuits against other schools that have policies protecting transgender students, claiming that these policies violate laws protecting religious freedom.
In other words, a one-stop-shop for using religion as an excuse to discriminate.
As advocates for religious freedom, we are standing up to those who would harm others in the name of religion. We are fighting to protect our neighbors. If a business has used religion as an excuse to deny you service, please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.