Does the First Amendment Protect the Right NOT to Speak?

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) asked a college student whether she believes the First Amendment’s free speech protection also protects the right not to speak.

She said yes, the First Amendment protects that right. If you’re uncomfortable saying something, no matter the subject, she added, you shouldn’t have to speak on the matter.

“If the government disagrees with you on a particular idea, do you think the government should be able to force you to say something you don’t believe?”

Phrased that way, the obvious answer is no, right? Let’s say the government wants to force a homosexual web designer to create a site for a Catholic church. Any leftist would say no. Should the government force a Christian web designer to create sited for same-sex “weddings?”

The woman in the video said no to both examples, but the series of questions illustrates the point.

Christian graphic artist Lorie Smith recently argued her case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Smith filed a pre-enforcement lawsuit challenging a Colorado law that would compel her to create a message she opposes. For example, if she creates sites that celebrate marriage, she has to create sites that celebrate same-sex “marriage.”

The Colorado Civil Rights Commission used the same law to sue Christian baker Jack Phillips after he declined to create a “wedding” cake for two homosexuals. The Supreme Court ruled in his favor.

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