A Christian graphic designer has received “vile” messages after filing a federal lawsuit in the US, in an attempt to avoid being forced to use her artistic talents to promote same-sex marriage.
Under current Colorado state law, the designer must promote same-sex marriage in her workplace and is also forbidden from sharing her views in public.
Lorie Smith’s lawsuit is a ‘pre-enforcement challenge’, which enables people to challenge a law before the Government enforces it against them.
She said: “Since filing a lawsuit to protect my First Amendment rights on September 20, I have been bombarded with many messages about my case.
“Some have been supportive, but many more have been hate-filled and deeply unsettling.”
Smith added: “To my clients who have received harassing messages because of the lawsuit, I am very sorry that some people are so intolerant of my beliefs as to harass you.
“As you know, I try to treat everyone with respect and I wish they would do the same.”
She is being supported in her case by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a religious liberty organisation.
ADF senior counsel, Jeremy Tedesco, said: “Artists shouldn’t be threatened with punishment for disagreeing with the government’s preferred views.
“The state must allow artists the freedom to make personal decisions about what art they can and can’t create.”
Elsewhere in the US, two Christian business owners in Ariozna are facing imprisonment and fines after refusing to use their artistic talents to create invitations for a same-sex wedding.
Graphic designers Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski have been accused of violating laws which require people in the state to cater for all customer requests, including those made by same-sex couples.
The Phoenix non-discrimination ordinance also prevents them from explaining to customers and the public why they could only create art consistent with their beliefs about marriage.
There is now the threat of a $2,500 fine and possible imprisonment for up to six months for refusing to comply.