Love letter: Supreme Court backs designer opposed to same-sex marriage

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

Writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch said, “The opportunity to think for ourselves and to express those thoughts freely is among our dearest freedoms 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 people are free to think and speak as they like, 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 men and groups, particularly conservative Christians, who celebrated the ruling on Friday as a victory for religious freedom.

In the dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the ruling “deeply wrong,” arguing that Colorado’s anti-discrimination law “targets conduct, not speech, for regulation, and that the act of discrimination never constituted expression protected by the First Amendment. Our Constitution does not contain any right to refuse service to a disadvantaged group.

Read more in the live briefing.