In June 2023, the nation awaited a decision from the United States Supreme Court in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis. At its core, the case presented the question of whether free speech rights outweighed a state’s interest in prohibiting discrimination through its public accommodation laws. If the Supreme Court had ruled against 303 Creative and compelled its owner, Lorie Smith, to design a website for same-sex weddings despite Ms. Smith’s sincerely-held religious beliefs that such marriages are not biblical, free speech rights in America would have been at the mercy of what the majority deemed acceptable speech.

Although the Court correctly categorized Ms. Smith’s services as speech and placed more value on free speech when it conflicted with a state’s nondiscrimination laws, the decision leaves significant questions unresolved. One key issue is whether civil government has authority to force citizens to sell goods or services that do not constitute speech when selling such goods or services conflicts with the seller’s sincerely-held religious beliefs. This Article explains the 303 Creative decision, highlights the tension between the First Amendment rights and nondiscrimination laws, and explores the scope of government’s authority to prohibit discrimination—namely, whether individuals are accountable to God or government for matters of conscience and heart.

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