In the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision today, the Supreme Court rejected the arguments of those who had hoped to chip away at the civil rights of LGTBQI individuals under the guise of religious freedom. The Court was unequivocal: "gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth." While the Supreme Court concluded, for factual reasons specific to this case, that the bakers at Masterpiece Cakeshop must be given another hearing before the Colorado Human Rights Commission, it also made clear that "the laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect [gay persons and gay couples] in the exercise of their civil rights."
Although BALIF is disappointed the Supreme Court declined to definitively resolve future cases involving disputes between LGBTQI people and businesses who seek to discriminate against us purportedly on the basis of religious beliefs, we are encouraged this decision reaffirms the central principle that there is no special carveout from civil rights laws, including protections for LGBTQI people, for discrimination motivated by religious beliefs. The Supreme Court also made clear that courts considering similar disputes in the future must do so "without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market." We are therefore confident that the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision will prove to be a hollow victory for those who seek to discriminate against the LGBTQI community. BALIF's fight to ensure full legal protections for members of the LGBTQI community continues undaunted. If you would like to join our fight through BALIF's Amicus Committee, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.