On June 4, in the case known as Masterpiece Cakeshop, the United States Supreme Court ruled against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for not, in the Court’s view, taking a more neutral stance on religious beliefs. This is a limited ruling which only addressed the actions of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. However this could lead to cases in the future where the rights of LGBT people are stripped away, piece by piece (no pun intended of course!) .
We must view this case in light of moderate Justice Kennedy’s important preface to his opinion:
“Nevertheless, while those religious and philosophical objections are protected, it is a general rule that such objections do not allow business owners and other actors in the economy and in society to deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law.” — Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
In response to the Supreme Court’s decision this past week in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, many opinions abound on the SCOTUS ruling:
Candace Bond-Theriault, the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Senior Policy Counsel, Reproductive Health, Rights & Justice and author of the Task Force’s Amicus brief:
“This case was never about cake, it’s about whether religion, or speech that has a religious viewpoint, can override longstanding anti-discrimination laws that have been put in place to prohibit the egregious bigotry business owners historically have displayed towards people of color, women, religious minorities, and LGBTQ people,”
People For the American Way Foundation President Michael Keegan released the following statement:
“It’s clear that the Religious Right was hoping for a decision that would transform religious liberty from a shield to protect our individual rights into a sword that would allow them to attack the rights of LGBTQ people. That’s not what they got. This is a narrow decision focused on the particulafacts of the particular case.
“But while the Court refused the invitation to create a new right to discriminate, it also failed to take a clear stand against the discrimination that millions of people still face, including the gay couple in this case.
“The simple truth is that everyone should be able to live their lives without being afraid that they’ll be refused service because of who they are or who they love. It’s time for our nation’s laws and courts to catch up to the public in recognizing that basic principle.”
People For the American Way Foundation joined with seven other organizations in filing an amicus brief in this case, which noted that anti-discrimination laws protect, rather than impede, religious freedom.
With all that has been said – I believe this case serves as a reminder – a critical reminder – that we LGBTQI people do not have our freedom and civil rights adequately protected or fully enough entrenched in the United Sates and the only way to accomplish that is to fight for a FULL EQUALITY BILL either akin to the Civil Rights Act, or attached thereto!
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