There are demands for Erin Morrow Hawley, an attorney and the spouse of Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, to be punished following reports that a man referenced in the Supreme Court’s decision on a case about LGBTQ rights claims he was not involved.
Last Friday (June 30), a court ruled in favor of Lorie Smith with a 6-3 decision. The court stated that she could refuse to design websites for same-sex weddings, despite a Colorado law prohibiting discrimination based on gender, race, sexual orientation, and other attributes.
In 2016, Smith and her lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal advocacy group, filed a case in a Colorado district court. They argued that the state’s anti-discrimination law hindered Smith from displaying a message on her company’s website stating that she would not design wedding websites for gay couples.
Smith filed a preemptive lawsuit before creating wedding websites, which was not based on the request.
As the case developed, Smith revealed that in September 2016, she was approached by a same-sex couple named Stewart and Mike to create a wedding website. This happened after the state of Colorado questioned Smith’s intentions to sue and asked if she had a valid reason to do so.
In court documents filed in 2017, Smith mentioned Stewart by name and provided his phone number and email address as part of a website service request.
Stewart, who preferred not to disclose his last name, recently revealed that he was unaware that his name had been mentioned in the lawsuit until a reporter from The New Republic contacted him last week.
According to a statement he made to The Associated Press, Stewart described being “incredibly surprised” by his inclusion in the lawsuit, considering he has been “happily married to a woman for the last 15 years.”
He added that since he was a web designer, he could design his own website.
Kristen Waggoner, Smith’s attorney and also serves as ADF’s CEO and president, has refuted that Stewart’s request was fabricated, suggesting it was “legally irrelevant whether Lorie received a request for a same-sex wedding website.”
Stewart’s statements to the media caused a stir on social platforms and prompted calls for disciplinary action against Erin Morrow Hawley, a senior counsel at ADF.
Taking to Twitter, Kaivan Shroff, an attorney, tweeted that it was unsurprising that “insurrection supporter Josh Hawley’s wife, Erin Hawley,” litigated the case, claiming the “Extreme Court used the totally made up case to illegitimately strip away LGBT+ rights.”