Supreme Court hears new case on LGBTQ and business owners’ rights

The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 5 heard arguments in a potential landmark case that could have far-reaching business implications. On one side are laws that guarantee same-sex couples equal access to all businesses that offer their services to the public. On the other are business owners who consider themselves artists and don’t want to use their talents to express a message they don’t believe in.

This isn’t the first time the high court has considered such cases, but this time the court is much more conservative, and it proactively chose to hear the case even before any same-sex couples complained that they were the victims of illegal discrimination.

The plaintiff in the case, instead, is a Colorado web designer who for the past decade has created all kinds of custom websites for clients. She says that because of Colorado’s public accommodations law, she cannot do what she wants to do most — custom web designs for weddings. The reason: She believes that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

Now the Supreme Court will decide just where state, local, and even the federal government may draw the line when it comes to same-sex couples and laws requiring businesses that are open to the public to serve everyone on an equal basis.