“The North Carolina legislature has overridden the veto of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and passed multiple laws specifically targeting trans youth on issues including gender-affirming care, sports, and education. It’s the latest of several states with GOP-led legislatures to approve such bills, and it highlights how Republicans are continuing to make these policies central to their platform ahead of 2024.”
“Laura Ann Carleton, 66, a California business owner, was shot and killed last weekend after a gunman tore down an LGBTQ Pride flag hanging outside her store and shouted homophobic slurs. Since then, law enforcement has revealed that the gunman — who was killed in an encounter with police — also posted numerous anti-LGBTQ posts on social media accounts they believe are affiliated with him.”
“The government may not compel someone to “create speech she does not believe,” the Supreme Court ruled this morning. In a 6–3 opinion authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Court sided with a graphic designer, Lorie Smith, who wanted to expand into the wedding-website business without being forced by Colorado law to create products celebrating same-sex marriages.
Back in 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit found that the planned websites would each constitute “an original, customized creation,” designed by Smith “using text, graphics, and in some cases videos” with a goal of celebrating the couple’s “unique love story.” As such, it said they “qualify as ‘pure speech’ protected by the First Amendment.” The lower court admitted that Smith was willing to provide her services to anyone, regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation, so long as the substance of the project did not contradict her values. It also recognized that “Colorado’s ‘very purpose’ in seeking to apply its law to Ms. Smith” was to stamp out dissenting ideas about marriage. Despite all of that, incredibly, the 10th Circuit held that the state government was within its authority to compel her to create such websites against her will.”
“The ruling in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis is neither as narrow nor as broad as it (theoretically) could have been. The Court didn’t do away with public accommodations, or businesses prohibited from discriminating against customers on the basis of characteristics such as skin color or national origin. It did note that “no public accommodations law is immune from the demands of the Constitution” and that “public accommodations statutes can sweep too broadly when deployed to compel speech.” (The Colorado law was guilty in this instance.)
The high court also didn’t establish a right for any and every business owner to decline to provide services for same-sex weddings—only those whose services involve expressive activity. Whether a particular service (say, cake baking) is expressive will have to be litigated case by case.
But the majority did decide Smith’s case by appealing to free-expression precedents rather than religious-liberty ones. In other words, the justices didn’t say that the faith-based nature of Smith’s beliefs about marriage entitled her to an exemption. Presumably, a secular person with moral or factual objections to expressing a particular message would receive all the same protections as a Christian or Muslim objecting on religious grounds. As it should be.”
“In early April, Bud Light sent an influencer named Dylan Mulvaney a handful of beers. Mulvaney, in turn, posted a video of herself dressed like Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, using said beers to celebrate both March Madness and her first year of womanhood. One of the cans featured her image. It was part of a paid sponsorship deal and promotion for some sort of sweepstakes challenge where people can win $15,000 from Bud Light by sending in videos of themselves carrying a lot of beers.
This made some people very mad, and not because Holly Golightly wasn’t really a beer gal (her preference was the White Angel, a boozy mix of vodka and gin, which, whew). Instead, they were upset because Mulvaney is transgender.”
“A federal court has permanently struck down Arkansas’ ban on gender transition procedures for minors. The law violated the rights of Arkansas children and their parents, as well as the rights of health care providers, held the court, finding that the ban went against the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause, Due Process Clause, and First Amendment.”