Lorie Smith, a Christian graphic artist and website designer in Colorado, right, accompanied by her lawyer, Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom
Christian website designer says she received email request from same-sex couple but ‘author’ says he did not send it – and is not gay.
Today, Friday, the Supreme Court will issue its decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis. That’s the case in which a conservative Christian web designer from Colorado (Lorie Smith) argues she shouldn’t be forced by the state’s anti-discrimination laws to have to make a wedding website for same-sex couples. – Hemant Mehta
The veracity of a key document in a major LGBTQ+ rights case before the US supreme court has come under question, raising the possibility that important evidence cited in it might be wrong or even falsified.
The supreme court is expected to issue a ruling on Friday in 303 Creative LLC v Elenis, which deals with a challenge to a Colorado law prohibiting public-serving businesses from discriminating against gay people as well as any statements announcing such a policy. The suit centers on Lorie Smith, a website designer who does not want to provide her services for gay weddings because of her religious objections.
In 2016, she says, a gay man named Stewart requested her services for help with his upcoming wedding. “We are getting married early next year and would love some design work done for our invites, placenames etc. We might also stretch to a website,” reads a message he apparently sent her through her website. But Stewart, who requested his last name be withheld for privacy, said in an interview with the Guardian that he never sent the message, even though it correctly lists his email address and telephone number. He has also been happily married to a woman for the last 15 years, he said. The news was first reported by the New Republic.
The Mysterious Case of the Fake Gay Marriage Website, the Real Straight Man, and the Supreme Court
Yes, that was his name, phone number, email address, and website on the inquiry form. But he never sent this form, he said, and at the time it was sent, he was married to a woman. “If somebody’s pulled my information, as some kind of supporting information or documentation, somebody’s falsified that,” Stewart explained. (Stewart’s last name is not included in the filing, so we will be referring to him by his first name throughout this story.)
“I wouldn’t want anybody to … make me a wedding website?” he continued, sounding a bit puzzled but good-natured about the whole thing. “I’m married, I have a child—I’m not really sure where that came from? But somebody’s using false information in a Supreme Court filing document.”
When Smith and her attorneys, the Christian right group Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF, brought this case for the first time, it was to the United States District Court in Colorado in 2016, and they lost. Smith and ADF filed the case on September 20 of that year, asking the court to enjoin the state anti-discrimination law so that Smith could begin offering her wedding website design services to straight couples only. Up to this point, Smith had never designed any wedding website. (In fact, her website six months prior to the lawsuit being filed in 2016 does not include any of the Christian messaging that it did shortly afterward and today, archived versions of the site show.) The initial lawsuit did not mention the “Stewart” inquiry, which was submitted to Smith’s website on September 21, according to the date-stamp shown in later court filings, indicating that she received it the day after the suit was originally filed.
Read the entire report at THE NEW REPUBLIC
NO SCRIPTURE, NO PROSELYTIZING