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August 05, 2023 2023 ANNUAL MEETING

Bar-b-q, Wedding Cakes and Websites: The First Amendment vs. Anti-Discrimination Laws

Somehow, Colorado recently has become ground zero for the issuance of invitations to the United States Supreme Court to expand First Amendment rights at the expense of LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination rights. From wedding cake bakers to website designers; from religious liberty claims to free speech arguments – and the tenor of the arguments to the Court last December in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis seemed to indicate that a majority is receptive to at least some of the business owner’s expressive conduct arguments in that case for an exemption from Colorado’s anti-discrimination law.

This program examines the Supreme Court’s decision in 303 Creative and its likely impact on the doctrine of free speech rights in commercial settings and the enforceability of public accommodation nondiscrimination laws. Panelists consider whether the decision appears to be cabined to contexts involving LGBTQ+ people or to have broader implications for civil rights laws, and whether the Court’s approach has likely implications for religious rights, other constitutional doctrine, and other contexts, such as nonprofit public accommodations and employment. Lastly, panelists discuss how and whether the Court’s analysis can be squared with precedents that long have framed the relationship between certain First Amendment freedoms and civil rights laws, such as Piggie Park v. Newman.


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