Our veterans provide the ultimate example of why we must defend freedom
AAs President of Alliance Defending Freedom, I am honored to lead an organization that employs veterans from all branches of the United States military who, among other things here, continue to protect our most precious freedoms – just on a field of different battle. Together, we serve our fellow Americans by fighting to preserve religious freedom and free speech for all. Although these God-given rights are enshrined in our Constitution, they would only be words on a page without our veterans.
One of our clients,
, knows this very well. His grandfather served honorably in the United States Air Force during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Growing up, Lorie was very close to him and learned from his stories to love and honor those who stand up for freedom.
Now, as an adult, custom graphic designer, Lorie is passionate about creating websites for veteran-owned businesses and organizations dedicated to serving veterans. And she recently joined the board of a nonprofit organization that helps veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder by pairing them with trained rescue dogs to be support companions.
Lorie’s grandfather also gave her a deep appreciation for freedom and instilled in her a commitment to protect it, even at great cost. This investment is now paying dividends. Lorie’s passion for freedom has taken her all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which will decide this term whether artists like Lorie have the right to express themselves freely through their art, or whether the government can compel them to communicate messages that violate their beliefs. .
Lorie knows firsthand what it’s like when the government charged with protecting freedom smothers her instead. She wants to design custom artwork and websites that celebrate God’s design for marriage between husband and wife. But Colorado has made it clear that she is not welcome in this space and is forcing her to promote views on marriage that go against her sincere beliefs.
This coercion is wrong. It is also unconstitutional.
Lorie’s art is the spoken word and she serves people from all walks of life, including her clients who identify as LGBT. Everyone, even Colorado, agrees with that. But like most artists, Lorie can only promote messages through her custom art that align with her beliefs. That’s a problem for Colorado officials, who claim the right to dictate what Lorie says.
In December, the Supreme Court will hear his case, 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, to answer if the government can force her, or any American, to say things they don’t believe. Under the Constitution, that answer is an emphatic “no”.
The Supreme Court has always protected Americans from the twin enemies of free speech: government censorship and forced speech. And for good reason. Freedom of expression is an essential pillar of a just society. He has allowed our nation’s most critical civil rights movements to thrive, secure women’s suffrage, advance racial equality, and more. Without this freedom, other freedoms soon fall.
Indeed, if the government can stop citizens from saying what they believe or force them to speak state-sanctioned messages, then our nation will no longer resemble the one that Lorie’s grandfather and countless others heroic men and women fought to defend. Our democratic government by the people and for the people would be meaningless without the ability to choose when to speak and when to be silent.
From the Revolutionary War to today, our constitutional republic has survived every threat, foreign or domestic, because brave Americans have been willing to put their lives and livelihoods on the line “to secure the blessings of freedom for ourselves and our posterity”. For nearly two and a half centuries, whether in times of peace and prosperity or crisis and calumny, America has remained a beacon of hope to the world. It is “the shining city on a hill” where every man, woman and child can realize their greatest potential thanks to the promise kept by these brave souls who stand guard: “Here you are safe and you are free”. .
Veterans Day, which began as a day of celebration and remembrance of the end of the First World War, reminds us all of the sacrifices made by those who served in uniform to defend our nation, our Constitution and our way of life.
The case of Lorie Smith is about preserving these blessings of freedom. In her own way, she carries on her family’s legacy of protecting freedom for all of us. No matter your background or beliefs, a victory for Lorie in our nation’s highest court will ensure that free speech truly is for everyone — and that America’s promise of freedom is preserved for years to come. coming.
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Kristen Wagoner is CEO, President and General Counsel of
Alliance Defending Freedom