(June 30, official Washington Examiner editorial) When the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, it also guarantees the freedom to be silent. Speech that is compelled is not free.

That should be a simple concept, but for some reason, various localities and government agencies continue forcing the Supreme Court to reassert it. That’s what a 6-3 court majority did today in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenisupholding a web designer’s right to decide whether to create highly “customized” online wedding registries.

In doing so, the high court slaps down regimes that continue trying to compel obeisance to leftist orthodoxies without regard to the expressive rights of a free people. The state of Colorado, in particular, has been an egregious violator of protections in, and derived from, the Constitution’s First Amendment. Here, the Supreme Court, which already rebuked the state when it tried to force an artisan baker to make cakes for homosexual wedding ceremonies, again has told Colorado to cease its abuses.

As with cake artist Jack Phillips, web designer Lorie Smith provides a specialized, expressive product, not an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all commodity, to celebrate marriages. As part of her faith, she believes a marriage by definition is between a man and a woman, so she does not provide wedding websites for homosexual couples. Yet the way Colorado applies its state law guaranteeing equal access to all “public accommodations” allows for no exceptions for expressive or religious objectors in creative fields.

Indeed, state agents and courts seem to take zealous delight in harassing faith-based artisans. They do so even if those artisans otherwise serve homosexual people and, when conflicted, provide referrals to similar artisans when the artisans’ consciences disallow them from producing the desired product. No matter what the state’s intentions are, this clearly runs afoul of the Constitution and of U.S. founding principles.

“The freedom to think and speak is among our inalienable human rights,” wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch for the majority…. [The full editorial is at this link.]


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