June 4, 2018 — For Immediate Release
NEW YORK – Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case that clearly reaffirms the validity and importance of state and federal laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. The Supreme Court also reaffirmed what we already know: that businesses that are open to the public must be open to all, and that the Constitution does not grant a right to discriminate against LGBTQ people and families.
“Today’s decision does not create any new exemptions to existing nondiscrimination laws, nor does it change the fact that businesses that are open to the public must be open to all,” says Denise Brogan-Kator, chief policy officer at Family Equality Council. “Indeed, the Supreme Court goes to great lengths to underscore that civil rights laws are enforceable, and that LGBTQ people and families can and should be protected from discrimination under law.”
In the amicus brief Family Equality Council submitted in partnership with Lambda Legal, we highlighted the risks to LGBTQ families and their children if businesses and other public accommodations were granted a license to discriminate. It is important to recognize that today’s decision does nothing to jeopardize existing nondiscrimination protections in place in many states across the country, although it will surely encourage those on the religious right to continue challenging such laws in the courts.
“In today’s decision, the justices highlighted the importance of tolerance and respectful discourse in resolving such disputes, values that we as a society should uphold and as parents we should model for our children,” says Rev. Stan J. Sloan, CEO of Family Equality Council. “We are committed to working with the hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ-affirming people of faith in this country who agree that anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the name of religion has no place in American society.”
By reversing the lower court’s ruling, today’s Supreme Court decision allowed the bakery’s discrimination to go unchecked, but only because of concerns specific to this case. The decision makes clear that laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination are appropriate and necessary, and that states should apply and enforce such laws in a neutral, unbiased fashion.
In the decision, the justices write: “Our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth. For that reason the laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect them in the exercise of their civil rights. The exercise of their freedom on terms equal to others must be given great weight and respect by the courts.”
In this passage, the Supreme Court calls us to action, to pass laws that grant comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people, as provided by the Equality Act.
About Family Equality Council
Family Equality Council advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Family Equality Council believes every LGBTQ person should have the right and opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of who they are or where they live. Learn more at familyequality.org.
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Ed Harris, Chief Communications Officer, Family Equality Council
646-880-3005 x117 / firstname.lastname@example.org