Is it spring already? An open wire from the State of Colorado, 03/21/2022

Take me to the moon. Let me play among the stars. Let’s see what spring looks like on Jupiter and Mars… Where is this spaceship?

The Colorado State Open Thread is for people with an interest, connection to, and those who may have heard of Colorado but have yet to satisfy your curiosity about our square state.

As I type this Monday afternoon it is snowing outside and we have received a few inches of the white stuff. Not as much as originally expected, but enough to cover the ice and make walking dangerous. I hope you can experience your own version of spring wherever you are.

Photos from last week were of the north side of Pike’s Peak, located outside of Manitou Springs, and a bit further outside of Colorado Springs.


It was the location, a few years ago, of an intrepid crew of Kosacks who took on the challenge of our relatives in the Four Corners group who had once encountered Kosack on the Durango-Silverton train. They were very proud to host Kosack’s first reunion on a train and the highest (altitude – please get your mind out of the gutter) Kosack reunion ever. Well, I arranged, with Leftcandid, to make them higher by hosting a Kosack meeting on the Pikes Peak cog railway that departed from Manitou Springs station and climbed to the top of Pikes Peak at 14,115 feet altitude.

Unfortunately only three people made the trip but we still had a great encounter.
One of those beautiful September days in the high country that make Colorado second to none.

I don’t believe there has been another trip that has ever topped the heights we climbed to bring Kosacks to the top of the mountains, but we could certainly match that since the railroad is back in business. Or we could just do one of the other ways to get to the top. We could even have an encounter on Mt Evans (well, it will be Mt Blue Sky once the name change is done) and it would be higher, but it wouldn’t be via rail).

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I don’t know if it’s been documented on this site before, but you might not have heard that the US Supreme Court is getting another crack at Colorado’s public accommodations law trying to making sure everyone can have their freedom of religion (to marry whoever they want) take precedence over other people’s freedom of religion (to hate who they want to hate) and freedom of speech (not to be forced to shut up when asked to make a product of their public company for those they want to hate). It’s a long way of saying business people complain when they’re told they can’t discriminate against customers when asking for a product just because they don’t agree with the product. person’s religious opinion (or lack thereof).

The original Masterpiece Cakeshop issue arose when a gay couple asked the bakery to bake a wedding cake to celebrate their gay marriage and the bakery refused. Colorado law was determined by the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act to prevent the bakery from refusing to make the cakes solely because they disagreed with the same-sex couples marrying, since they would have made a cake for a heterosexual wedding and that they are a public company (or at least they have a public business license under city and state rules). The state government (not the court) made statements to support its decision, however, that the United States Supreme Court ruled that they did not treat the Cakeshop owner’s religious rights fairly with the rights of the couple and, since the couple was able to get a cake from another bakery, the state was being unduly harsh in forcing the Cakeshop to change their religion to accommodate beliefs they did not hold.….

Now there is a case before the United States Supreme Court arguing that a company cannot have its right to free speech and that its freedom of religion takes second place to the right of religion of its customers. Basically, a battle of 1st Amendment priorities.


Lorie Smith, owner of website design company 303 Creative, filed a lawsuit in 2016 to challenge Colorado’s anti-discrimination law that prevents her from refusing to design websites for same-sex marriages, which is contrary to his Christian beliefs.

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represents Smith, argues that the state law violates his First Amendment rights.

In July, a panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that state law “rightly compels” Smith’s speech, so the ADF asked the Supreme Court to hear the case.

ADF is the same law firm that represented Masterpiece Cakeshop (surprise, surprise!).…

The case the court agreed to hear on Tuesday was filed by Lorie Smith, who owns a graphic design business and wants to expand her business to include wedding websites. Because she opposes same-sex marriage on religious grounds, Smith does not want to design websites for same-sex marriages and she wants to post a message on her own website explaining this. But a Colorado law prohibits businesses open to the public from discriminating against gay people or announcing their intention to do so.

Smith went to federal court, seeking a ruling that Colorado could not enforce its anti-discrimination law against her. The United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit agreed that “Smith’s creation of wedding websites is pure speech” and that Colorado law requires Smith to create speech that she would otherwise refuse. But the anti-discrimination law does not violate the Constitution in this case, the appeals court concluded, because the law is closely tailored to the state’s interest in ensuring that LGBTQ clients have access to the unique services Smith provides. Same-sex couples may be able to have their wedding websites designed by someone else, the appeals court explained, but those clients “will never be able to obtain marriage-related services of the same quality and of the same nature as those proposed by Smith”.

After reviewing the case at four consecutive conferences, the justices agreed to take up Smith’s claim under the First Amendment’s free speech clause. They declined to consider two other issues raised by Smith in his petition for review: Does asking Smith to create personalized websites for same-sex couples violate the First Amendment’s free exercise clause, and whether the Supreme Court should reverse its 1990 decision in C. Smith Employment Division, who held that government actions generally do not violate the free exercise clause as long as they are neutral and apply to everyone. The case nonetheless promises to be a landmark decision as it could clarify when business owners who engage in expressive activities are entitled to religion-based exemptions from laws protecting civil rights.

Personally, I wouldn’t challenge a company to produce something for me that they wouldn’t want to produce, just because I wouldn’t want to pay for a crap product (or, if it was a food, something that might have something disgusting like I’ve heard many stories about, like saliva or worse mixed into the finished product), but me, as a straight, white male, I’m not someone ‘one who ever knowingly received in my life something that might have been maliciously altered – white male privilege etc., but I can see where people who have been discriminated against would want to use the protection of existing law to establish and apply a standard of behavior and try to change the world for the better. I support those who want to change the world and end discrimination, which is why I support democrats who will seek equal justice and treatment for all – lgbtq, disabled, race (which is a very fluid), men, women (again, fluid concepts) and all the other protected classes that people use to try to discriminate against others – damn it, I would support any politician and anyone who supports equal justice and treatment, not just the Democrats, but it seems like the Democrats are the only team fighting because these things and most others are looking to find reasons to separate rather than unite.

Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this or any other issue below in the comments. Just a reminder, I’m always looking for photo contributions. The floor is yours…



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