Masterpiece Cakeshop

Here’s the truth about today’s Supreme Court decision: It doesn’t actually change anything.

  • For generations, conservatives have been working to erode the rights and liberties of our communities, including LGBQ, transgender, gender expansive, women, POC, and religious minority communities.
  • Everyday trans and queer people, especially people of color, navigate a world where they experience intense discrimination;
  • A business in Colorado got away with blatant discrimination;
  • The complicated nature of the decision threatens to embolden the vocal minority that seeks to use religion as a tool for discrimination;
  • Ginsburg and Sotomayor’s dissents say that the Court should have upheld the Colorado commission’s finding that the bakery violated anti-discrimination law, because it was the correct decision—even though the process was problematic;
  • The effect of this decision is that non-discrimination laws across the country remain in effect.

Being turned away from a public place because of who you are is discrimination. As a nation, we decided long ago that when a business opens its doors to the public, it should be open to all. The embarrassment, shame, and fear that comes from being told, “Your kind doesn’t belong here.” We thought those days were behind us.

In 2013’s Elane Photography v. Wilcock decision, New Mexico’s Supreme Court decided that there is no right to violate the New Mexico Human Rights Act. We’ve already decided that there is no license to discriminate in New Mexico—we already closed that chapter of our history. We thought that we had enshrined laws that would keep people from being unfairly fired, evicted, or refused service simply because of who they are. The promise of equal treatment under the law should be a reality for everyone.

The Supreme Court reversed the decision based on concerns that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had not acted impartially when considering the bakery’s religion‐based defense. While it is disappointing that the Court let the bakery’s discrimination here go unchecked, it did so only because of concerns unique to this case. Most importantly, the Court did not give businesses the broad right to discriminate that the bakery and the Trump administration sought here. Our nation decided more than 50 years ago that when a business decides to open its doors to the public, that business should be open to all. The Supreme Court today protected that core principle, expressly recognizing that states can seek to prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people.

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