303 Creative, et al. v. Elenis, et al., No. 19-1413 (10th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Appellants Lorie Smith and her website design company 303 Creative, LLC (collectively, “Appellants”) appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Appellees Aubrey Elenis, Director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division (the “Director”), members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (the “Commission”), and Phil Weiser, Colorado Attorney General (collectively, “Colorado”). Appellants challenged Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act (“CADA”) on free speech, free exercise, and vagueness and overbreadth grounds. Consistent with Ms. Smith’s religious beliefs, Appellants intended to offer wedding websites that celebrate opposite-sex marriages but intended to refuse to create similar websites that celebrate same-sex marriages. Appellants’ objection was based on the message of the specific website; Appellants would not create a website celebrating same-sex marriage regardless of whether the customer was the same-sex couple themselves, a heterosexual friend of the couple, or even a disinterested wedding planner requesting a mock-up. Appellants brought a pre-enforcement challenge to CADA in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. After summary judgment briefing had concluded, the district court found that Appellants only established standing to challenge the Communication Clause, and not the Accommodation Clause. After the Supreme Court’s ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop, the district court denied Appellants’ summary judgment motion on its Communication Clause challenges. The Tenth Circuit held Appellants had standing to challenge CADA. As to the merits, the Court held that CADA satisfied strict scrutiny, and thus permissibly compelled Appellants’ speech. The Court also held that CADA was a neutral law of general applicability, and that it was not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on August 31, 2023.