McDermott and Civil Rights Lawyers File Supreme Court Brief Supporting Public Accommodation Laws - McDermott Will & Emery

McDermott and Civil Rights Lawyers File Supreme Court Brief Supporting Public Accommodation Laws


International law firm McDermott Will & Emery is proud to announce their partnership with The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, asking the Court to uphold a Colorado law that makes it illegal for private businesses to deny goods or services to anyone on the basis of their disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, or ancestry.

A website design company is challenging the law as a violation of free speech, so it can have the right to deny services and to advertise that it refuses to provide services to same-sex couples who wish to purchase the company’s wedding websites. The brief argues that the government’s interest in preventing and eradicating discrimination against historically marginalized groups outweighs a business owner’s right to discriminate in the provision of goods or services. The brief explains the historical roots of public accommodation laws, and the role they continue to play in preventing businesses from depriving individuals of dignity and equality on the basis of their identity. It argues that a ruling allowing the website designer to lawfully withhold services from LGBTQ+ persons on the grounds of free speech would open the door for other businesses to deny services on the basis of other protected characteristics, such as race and national origin.

Ethan Townsend and Sarah Hogarth, both litigation partners at McDermott and members of the Supreme Court and Appellate group served as co-leads on this project, with support from associate Crystal Fomba.

More information on the filing can be found here.

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