Human Rights Campaign: Supreme Court’s Reckless Ruling in 303 Creative Case Undermines Non-Discrimination Laws for LGBTQ+ People and Others

by Aryn Fields

SCOTUS grants exemption to nondiscrimination laws for custom goods and services; Does NOT grant blanket discrimination ability to all businesses or services

WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, condemned the Supreme Court’s radical decision on 303 Creative v. Elenis, a case regarding whether a business that is open to the public can be granted an unprecedented free speech exemption from state anti-discrimination law in order to turn away customers they would rather not serve. In a radical, unprecedented 6/3 decision, the Court ruled that a “free speech” exemption can be given to public accommodations non-discrimination laws for custom goods and services.

Human Rights Campaign President (HRC) Kelley Robinson released the following statement:

“This decision by the Supreme Court is a dangerous step backward, giving some businesses the power to discriminate against people simply because of who we are. Our nation has been on a path of progress — deciding over the course of many decades that businesses should be open regardless of race, disability or religion. Many states have expanded this promise to include sex, sexual orientation and gender identity—this is a deeply troubling crack in our progress and should be alarming to us all. People deserve to have commercial spaces that are safe and welcoming. This decision continues to affirm how radical and out-of-touch this Court is, especially when 80 percent of Americans support robust and LGBTQ+ inclusive nondiscrimination laws.
“Make no mistake, this case was manufactured by the Alliance for Defending Freedom to create a new license to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people. Despite our opponents claiming this is a major victory, this ruling does not give unfettered power to discriminate. This decision does not mean that any LGBTQ+ person can be discriminated against in housing, employment or banking—those protections remain enshrined with federal law. The LGBTQ+ community is in a state of emergency where all levels of government are trying to erase us, but we will not let them erase us—we will fight back.”

The 303 Creative case involves the owner of a Colorado website business who claims that the business involves speech and requiring her to sell to same-sex couples is compelled speech; therefore the business is entitled to a First Amendment exemption from state anti-discrimination law. However, the business does not currently sell wedding websites and no same-sex couple has asked to buy one. Represented by the hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, the website owner claimed that the anti-discrimination law would “compel” her to express support for a marriage with which she disagrees if she is not permitted to refuse such a sale in the future.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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