DENVER – A Colorado internet designer who the U.S. Supreme Court docket dominated Friday might refuse to make wedding ceremony web sites for homosexual {couples} cited a request from a person who says he by no means requested to work along with her.

The request in dispute, from an individual recognized as “Stewart,” wasn’t the idea for the federal lawsuit filed preemptively seven years in the past by internet designer Lorie Smith, earlier than she began making wedding ceremony web sites. However because the case superior, it was referenced by her attorneys when legal professionals for the state of Colorado pressed Smith on whether or not she had enough grounds to sue.

The revelation distracts from Smith’s victory at a time when she might need been basking in her win, which is extensively thought of a setback for homosexual rights.

Smith named Stewart — and included an internet site service request from him, itemizing his telephone quantity and e-mail tackle in 2017 courtroom paperwork. However Stewart advised The Related Press he by no means submitted the request and didn’t know his identify was invoked within the lawsuit till he was contacted this week by a reporter from The New Republic, which first reported his denial.

“I was incredibly surprised given the fact that I’ve been happily married to a woman for the last 15 years,” stated Stewart, who declined to offer his final identify for concern of harassment and threats. His contact data, however not his final identify, had been listed in courtroom paperwork.

He added that he was a designer and “could design my own website if I need to” — and was involved nobody had checked into the validity of the request cited by Smith till not too long ago.

Smith’s lawyer, Kristen Waggoner, stated at a Friday information convention that the marriage request naming Stewart was submitted by Smith’s web site and denied it was fabricated.

She prompt it might have been a troll making the request, one thing that is occurred with different purchasers she has represented. In 2018 her shopper Colorado baker Jack Phillips gained a partial U.S. Supreme Court docket victory after refusing to make a homosexual couple’s wedding ceremony cake, citing his Christian religion.

“It’s undisputed that the request was received,” Waggoner said. “Whether that was a troll and not a genuine request, or it was someone who was looking for that, is really irrelevant to the case.”

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser on Friday called the lawsuit a “made up case” because Smith wasn’t offering wedding website services when the suit was filed.

Weiser didn’t know the specifics of Stewart’s denial, but said the nation’s high court should not have addressed the lawsuit’s merits “without any basis in reality.”

About a month after the case was filed in federal court challenging an anti-discrimination law in Colorado, lawyers for the state said Smith had not been harmed by the law as they moved to dismiss the case.

Her lawyers maintained Smith did not have to be punished for violating the law before challenging it. In February 2017 they said even though she did not need a request in order to pursue the case, she had received one.

“Any claim that Lorie will never receive a request to create a custom website celebrating a same-sex ceremony is no longer legitimate because Lorie has received such a request,” they said.

Smith’s Supreme Court filings briefly mentioned she received at least one request to create a website celebrating the wedding of a same-sex couple. There did not appear to be any reference to the issue in the court’s decision.


Related Press researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report from New York.

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