Graphic Designer Challenging Colo. Civil Rights Law

A graphic designer who says she should not have to create materials for gay weddings is challenging Colorado’s civil rights law in federal court.

Lorie Smith, owner of 303 Creative, argues that Colorado law would force her to use her artistic talents to promote something that violates her religious beliefs.

At issue is a tension between Colorado’s anti-discrimination law and the U.S. Constitution. State law requires any business that serves heterosexual weddings also accept same-sex clients. The constitution protects artists from having to create works that violate their beliefs.

Similar cases in the past have started after a professional declined to work with a gay couple. Smith, whose portfolio includes campaign material for several Republican state lawmakers, hasn't yet faced that situation. She's suing preemptively to establish the right to refuse business from gay couples in the future, and to be open about the reason she is turning them down.

Earlier this year, a Christian baker in Lakewood lost in state court after he argued his cakes were a form of art and that he shouldn’t have to make them for gay couples.

The conservative legal group behind that lawsuit, Alliance Defending Freedom, is also representing Smith, and this time is starting the case in federal court.