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303 Creative v. Elenis

Case Seeking Religious Exemption from LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Laws

Key Date: March 23, 2020
Status: Briefing Underway at 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
Legal Team: Alliance Defending Freedom
Type: Public Accommodations Discrimination

Case Overview:

303 Creative v. Elenis concerns a business owner in Colorado seeking to block Colorado’s longstanding non-discrimination law prohibiting discrimination in places of public accommodation based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The business owner, a graphic designer, says the non-discrimination law forces her to promote marriages between same-sex couples, and so she has filed a preemptive lawsuit. The designer said she would like to advertise that she does not design websites for the promotion of weddings between same-sex couples, and that the non-discrimination law blocks her from freely sharing this view.

The designer is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization that works aggressively to restrict and roll back non-discrimination protections and basic equality for LGBTQ Americans.

Latest in the Case:

Plaintiffs in the case appealed a ruling in favor of LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Briefing is now underway in 2020.

Case Timeline:

  • September 21, 2016: The anti-LGBTQ organization Alliance Defending Freedom files the lawsuit seeking an exemption from the Colorado Public Accommodations Act.
  • September 1, 2017: A federal judge rules against the designer, writing that the designer does not have standing to challenge the Accommodation Clause of the Colorado non-discrimination law. In the same ruling the federal judge put the case on hold, in light of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which will be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in the fall of 2017.
  • September 29, 2017: The Alliance Defending Freedom announces it will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
  • March 15, 2018: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit schedules oral argument in the case.
  • May 15, 2018: Oral argument is originally scheduled in the case before the 10th Circuit until being canceled and postponed.
  • August 14, 2018: The 10th Circuit grants the state’s motion to dismiss, sending the case back to district court to be decided on the merits of the briefs submitted by both sides.
  • September 26, 2019: The district court rules in favor of upholding the nondiscrimination protections.
  • October 25, 2019: The plaintiffs in the case appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • January 23, 2020: Plaintiffs in the case file their opening brief to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • March 23, 2020: Defendants in the case file their opening brief to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Last Updated April 8, 2020

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