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Amy Coney Barrett Warns Gay Rights Case Has Future Consequences

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett said on Monday that any decision made in a gay rights case will result in future consequences to similar cases.

On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis case, which was brought to the Court by a web designer based in Colorado.

The designer, 38-year-old Lorie Smith, filed a lawsuit against Colorado arguing that she has the First Amendment right to deny same-sex couples of her services because of her own religious beliefs.

During a portion of the oral arguments, Barrett spoke about possible hypothetical similar cases, such as a newspaper that would only promote same-sex marriage announcements, instead of promoting both same-sex and opposite-sex marriages announcements.

“However we decide this case obviously applies to others,” Barrett said during the oral arguments. “What if we say it’s a gay rights group that wants to publish gay rights announcements, online, all year round, not just for Gay Pride month, because it wants to celebrate love in that community.”

The comments by Barrett and oral arguments heard on Monday come amid concern that the Supreme Court could seek to overturn the Obergefell v. Hodges case, which legalized same-sex marriage in the U.S., following the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn the ruling in Roe v. Wade.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett and gay rights
An abortion rights demonstrator waves a pride flag during a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 25, 2022, a day after the Supreme Court released a decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, striking down the right to abortion. Inset, Justice Amy Coney Barrett is pictured in 2021. Barrett said on Monday that any decision made in the 303 Creative LLC vs. Elenis case will result in future consequences to similar cases.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty; Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty

In a concurring opinion following the recent Roe v. Wade ruling, conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the Court “should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”

“We have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents,” Thomas wrote in his opinion. “After overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions guarantee the myriad rights that our substantive due process cases have generated.”

Following the opinion by Thomas, some LGBTQ organizations expressed concern about the potential to overturn other cases.

“Thomas’ dissent is a blaring red alert for the LGBTQ community and for all Americans. We will never go back to the dark days of being shut out of hospital rooms, left off of death certificates, refused spousal benefits, or any of the other humiliations that took place in the years before Obergefell,” Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) said in June, The Washington Post reported.

While speaking with Newsweek earlier this month, Smith explained her decisions and said, “Because of my faith, however, I am selective about the messages that I create or promote—while I will serve anyone, I am always careful to avoid communicating ideas or messages, or promoting events, products, services, or organizations, that are inconsistent with my religious beliefs.”

Newsweek reached out to the Supreme Court for comment.

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