BJC comments on 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis decision

BJC General Counsel Holly Hollman reacts to the decision on free speech and nondiscrimination protections.

Jun 30, 2023

Media contact: Karlee Marshall | [email protected] | 202-544-4226

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 6-3 decision in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, ruling that the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause prohibits Colorado from enforcing its nondiscrimination law in relation to a website designer who refuses to create wedding websites for same-sex couples. 

BJC General Counsel Holly Hollman released the following statement on the decision’s implications for religious liberty:  

While the prohibition on government-compelled speech is an essential part of the First Amendment’s protections, it should not provide an end run around valid nondiscrimination laws that apply to businesses open to the public. 


Colorado’s statute serves an important public interest in ensuring equal access to the commercial marketplace without regard to race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin and other protected categories. BJC affirms the significance of laws like Colorado’s and rejects any attempt to portray them as an infringement on religious liberty. 


While Americans are free to express their religious and secular views about marriage, including those that conflict with nondiscrimination protections for same-sex marriage, BJC continues to believe that protecting religious freedom does not require granting broad exemptions that would undermine expectations for fair treatment in the commercial marketplace. 

BJC’s award-winning Respecting Religion podcast covered the case in two previous episodes: a preview of the term and analysis of the oral arguments. Holly Hollman and BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler will have much more to say about the decision on next week’s episode.

In the 2018 Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case, which was about the Free Exercise Clause, BJC joined a brief with other denominational entities, explaining that many anti-discrimination laws, like the one in Colorado that protects against LGBTQ discrimination, also protect against race and religious discrimination.

BJC (Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty) is an 87-year-old religiously based organization working to defend faith freedom for all and protect the institutional separation of church and state in the historic Baptist tradition. BJC is the home of the Christians Against Christian Nationalism campaign.