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Man Named In Supreme Court Gay Rights Ruling Says He’s Straight, Didn’t Request Website


Man Named In Supreme Court Gay Rights Ruling Says He’s Straight, Didn’t Request Website

A Colorado web designer who the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday could refuse to make wedding websites for same-sex couples over her religious objections, cited a request from a man who says he never asked to work with her and says he’s straight and happily married to a woman.

The website request in dispute, from a person identified in court documents as “Stewart,” came to light only after lawyers for the state of Colorado pressed the web designer, Laurie Smith, and her lawyers on whether she had sufficient grounds to sue.

Smith named Stewart in court filings as someone who requested graphic designs for invitations and other materials for a same-sex wedding with his fiancé, Mike. His phone number and email address are listed in 2017 court documents.

But Stewart told The Associated Press he never submitted the request and didn’t know his name had been invoked in the lawsuit until he was contacted last 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,” said Stewart.

Stewart said that he “did not submit a request” to the company, 303 Creative, and has no idea who “Mike” is.

“I’ve never asked anybody to design a website for me, so it’s all very strange. I certainly didn’t contact her, and whatever the information in that request is, is fake.”

Stewart, who previously worked for CNN, said that he is a web designer himself, and that “it would make zero sense to hire a web designer when I can do that for myself.”

“It is concerning that nobody connected with this case over the last six years has ever thought to call me, email me, text me to try and corroborate that communication in any way,” he said, adding: “I don’t necessarily think that would be a tipping point in this case at all, but at the very least … a case of this magnitude should be corroborated, should be fact checked along the way.”

When CNN reached out to Smith for comment. Kellie Fiedorek, a senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Smith, said in a statement that Smith “doesn’t do background checks on incoming requests to determine if the person submitting is genuine.”

Stewart called the Supreme Court’s decision Friday morning “disgraceful” and said that “it does seem like the entire case has been somewhat concocted to achieve a specific outcome.”

“As a designer, I think designers can refuse to do work for a prospective client for any number of reasons,” Stewart said. “Race, gender, sexual orientation should not be one of those.”

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