"Especially in the last week, despite the victory last week, I do continue to face horrific attacks, people saying they hope I would be raped; they want to burn my house down; they know where I live, and they want to come kill me and my family," Ms. Smith told The Epoch Times on July 5 in an exclusive interview.
"We cannot share any more about the internal conversations we are having, but it is deeply disheartening to see Lorie experience vicious harassment and death threats over her stand for all Americans’ free speech and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that just affirmed both those who agree and those who vehemently disagree with Lorie have the right to say what they believe without fear of government punishment," Ms. Fiedorek said.
Ms. Smith said the intensity of the harassment reached a crescendo as the ruling was imminent during the high court's summer decision week at the end of June.
"Just last week, my website crashed with over 10 million attacks, messages saying things that would make your skin crawl," Ms. Smith said. "It's sad to me because, at the end of the day, when I am standing to protect those individuals who have submitted those hateful responses, standing to protect me and them as well, of course, it's heartbreaking."
Ms. Smith's case arose from her concerns that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission officials would use the state's anti-discrimination statute to force her to create websites that convey speech with which she disagrees, especially concerning traditional versus same-sex marriage. She had left a productive corporate web design and digital marketing career to start her own business: 303 Creative.
Ms. Smith lost at the federal district court, but she appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States. When the appeals court ruled against her, Ms. Smith appealed to the Supreme Court, which accepted the case to decide whether a state government can use its laws "to compel an individual to create speech she does not believe."
In the majority opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote: "Colorado does not just seek to ensure the sale of goods or services on equal terms. It seeks to use its law to compel an individual to create speech she does not believe. The question we face is whether that course violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.
“In this case, Colorado seeks to force an individual to speak in ways that align with its views but defy her conscience about a matter of major significance. The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands.
“Nor, in any event, do the First Amendment’s protections belong only to speakers whose motives the government finds worthy; its protections belong to all, including to speakers whose motives others may find misinformed or offensive.”
Asked whether she would do it over again if she had the choice, Ms. Smith told The Epoch Times: "Absolutely, absolutely, I would. Freedom of speech is worthy of protecting, it's worthy of protecting not just for us here today, but I think about the next generation who might grow up to be graphic designers and speech creators; they may grow up to have a difference of opinion on marriage.
"Freedom of speech is for everyone, for this generation and the next and the next. I wouldn't change it for anything. I think the seven-year journey, while very difficult, has absolutely been worth it, and I really hope that people are able to see that this is not just a victory for Lorie Smith and 303 Creative but this is truly a victory for every American. Free speech is for everyone."