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Supreme Court hears free speech case involving Christian web designer seeking to refuse to design same-sex wedding sites

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Image Source: Fox News Digital video screenshot

On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the high-profile free speech case involving Lorie Smith, a Christian graphic designer from Colorado, seeking to refuse to create same-sex wedding websites, Fox News Digital reported.

Smith, owner of 303 Creative, filed the lawsuit in 2016 against Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits a business from discriminating based on sexual orientation. According to Smith, being forced to create same-sex wedding websites would violate her sincerely held religious beliefs.

The high court's decision will determine whether all service providers will be forced to suppress their free speech rights in workplace environments. The justices presented multiple hypotheticals to determine whether ruling in Smith's favor would promote the First Amendment.

Smith was joined by her attorney, Kristen Waggoner of Alliance Defending Freedom, in an interview on Fox News' "The Story" Monday. Smith explained that Colorado is "compelling and controlling" her speech by "forcing" her to create custom artwork that goes against her Christian faith.

"I want to create unique one-of-a-kind expression and artwork, and I want to design websites – wedding websites, specifically – that are consistent with my faith," Smith stated.

"But the state of Colorado is compelling and controlling my speech, chilling it and forcing me to communicate a message through my custom, unique artwork," she continued. "That violates the core of who I am, and at the core of this case is the right for all to speak freely, and that protects not only myself. [It] protects the LGBT web designer who should not be forced to create custom artwork that opposes same-sex marriage. The right to speak freely is guaranteed to each and every one of us, and a win for me is a win for everybody."

Smith added that she does not believe anyone "should be punished for communicating and speaking and creating custom artwork that goes along the lines of what they believe."

"I serve people from all different walks of life, and I do have clients who identify as LGBT. I cannot create every message requested of me," Smith said. "There are some messages I can't create no matter who requests them."

Waggoner further clarified Smith's point and explained that she is not refusing service to anyone based on sexual orientation.

"What is important here is that Colorado even agrees that Ms. Smith serves all people," stated Waggoner. "She does serve everyone. She has clients who identify as LGBT, and she serves them. And as the court many times today mentioned, her decisions turn on what the message is and not who the person is."

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