CJV Welcomes 303 Creative Religious Liberty Win at SCOTUS
June 30, 2023

Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 2,500 traditional, Orthodox rabbis in American public policy, today welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling in 303 Creative v. Elenis, permitting business owners free speech in accordance with their religious beliefs. Colorado law would have forced web designer Lorie Smith to express messages with which she disagrees, or to silence herself.

In 2008, Smith launched her website development company, 303 Creative, to create wedding and other websites that accord with her Christian faith. Although Colorado state officials admitted that she serves all clients regardless of their identity or affiliation and that this case is purely about speech, they still attempted to force her to choose between celebrating same-sex weddings or shuttering that part of her business.

“Lorie Smith does not discriminate against those who identify as LGBTQ+, and never has,” said CJV Southern Regional Vice-President Rabbi Moshe B, Parnes. “The record shows her ongoing desire to provide her services to every American, as long as she is not compelled to celebrate and promote behaviors that offend her moral principles. This was a simple case of religious liberty and free speech, and the real tragedy is that she had to go to the Supreme Court for protection against an obvious, patently-unconstitutional form of government coercion and control.”

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In today’s decision, the Supreme Court wrote: “The framers designed the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to protect the ‘freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think.’ …Colorado seeks to compel speech [Lorie Smith] does not wish to provide.”

“This case sets a significant precedent for future cases evaluating religious liberty and freedom of expression,” explained CJV Vice President Rabbi Dov Fischer. “We can hope that this decision will staunch the wave of malignant government and legal persecution of people of faith by those who resent their beliefs, values, and way of life.“

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