Stage 1 fire restrictions, enacted for unincorporated areas of western Boulder County.

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August 23, 2022

Boulder County joins U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief in defense of LGBTQ+ rights

Boulder County, Colo. -- Boulder County has joined San Francisco and 52 other local jurisdictions in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court defending the constitutionality of Colorado’s public accommodations law, arguing that a business owner’s religious beliefs do not give a business open to the public the right to discriminate against customers.

The amicus brief was filed as part of the U.S. Supreme Court case of 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, in which a website design business and its owner, looking to deny services to LGBTQ+ couples, claim Colorado’s public accommodations law violates the First Amendment’s protection for freedom of speech.

The Respondents to the petition are Director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division Aubrey Elenis, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, and members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The website design business first unsuccessfully sued in 2016.

“Boulder County has a critical interest in the enforcement of nondiscrimination laws and believes discrimination imposes significant harm to everyone in our community,” said Board of County Commissioners Vice-Chair Claire Levy. “The county believes that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against Colorado’s public accommodations law would impede our efforts to protect the health and welfare of our community, which is why the Board of County Commissioners felt it was crucial for Boulder County to make our position clear to the court. As the first county to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple in 1975, we have long had a voice in defense of LGBTQ+ rights and we will continue to do so.”

What is an amicus brief?

Amicus Curiae translated from Latin is "friend of the court." Generally, it refers to a person or group who are not a party in a court case, but who have a strong interest in the matter. This person or group will petition the court for permission to submit a brief to influence the court’s decision. Such a brief is called an "amicus brief".

Headshots of three current commissioners in horizontal alignment with their names to the right of each photo