The Bigger Issue in 303 Creative v Elenis

RJ Carr
5 min readDec 5, 2022
Photo via CanvaPro

The current case before the Supreme Court between a website designer and the State of Colorado may create more problems that any decision may solve. The reason is this is not a legal issue, it is one of charity. It is clearly indicative of a principle, if you have to take a dispute to the court then there was a breakdown in communication in the process.

The case focuses on whether a business can refuse to serve a gay couple. A Colorado web designer says she has the right to deny service in the name of the guarantees of free speech. She does not believe in same-sex marriage, therefore, she maintains she can deny her talents to the gay couple. The State of Colorado bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and, therefore, rejects her claim.

You cannot legislate charity

A priest friend of mine taught me a long time that you cannot legislate charity. He explained the principle in response to an issue I brought to him. I was in the Navy and the master at arms, who is literally the sheriff of a ship, lined his office with pornographic centerfolds. That is illegal in the shipboard Navy. Nevertheless, He was the man charged with enforcing the law which he himself disobeyed.

The problem is not only the content. The reason why office posters are illegal is if the space gets flooded, certainly a possibility on any ship including that fast frigate, those centerfolds would come off the bulkheads (walls) and clog any dewatering equipment. This would hamper the watertight integrity of the ship, endangering all onboard. It was not a moral issue but a safety issue. In fact, if the posters were all Christian sayings, the law and the problem would be the same.

My priest friend explained you cannot legislate charity. There was little I could do. The master-at-arms was wrong but I could not fight him. In fact, it would be his superior officer who should have addressed this with him and if not him, the Executive Officer.

The real issue

The real problem in the case before the Supreme Court is a lack of charity. The gay couple is looking for a world where if they want to give a company their business no one can say no to them on account of their sexual orientation. I believe the best…