Love Letter: Supreme Court Backs Designer Opposed to Same-Sex Marriage

In a 6-to-3 vote, split along ideological lines, the Supreme Court sided on Friday with a web designer in Colorado who said she had a First Amendment right to refuse to provide services for same-sex marriages despite a state law that forbids discrimination against gay people.

Writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch said that “the opportunity to think for ourselves and to express those thoughts freely is among our most cherished liberties and part of what keeps our Republic strong.”

He added, “The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands.”

The case, though framed as a clash between free speech and gay rights, was the latest in a series of decisions in favor of religious people and groups, notably conservative Christians, who celebrated the ruling on Friday as a victory for religious freedom.

In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the ruling “profoundly wrong,” arguing that the Colorado anti-discrimination law “targets conduct, not speech, for regulation, and the act of discrimination has never constituted protected expression under the First Amendment. Our Constitution contains no right to refuse service to a disfavored group.”

Read more in the live briefing.