By Melanie Nathan, June 30, 2023. This is no Happy Pride Ending.....
The conservative activist Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled along party lines. No longer independent by virtue of mostly Trump appointees, America's women, LGBTI+ community and Black community have been slammed with regressive rulings that have robbed us all of basic rights. We are still reeling from the voiding of reproductive rights through the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Yesterday SCOTUS ruled against affirmative action. Today SCOTUS ruled that a web designer can refuse to provide services to LGBTI+ people.
The Supreme Court ruled for an evangelical Christian website designer in a case involving whether creative businesses can refuse to serve LGBTQ+ customers citing First Amendment free speech rights. In a 6-3 decision for the conservative majority written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the court said wedding websites are a form of speech and Colorado's anti-discrimination law cannot force a designer to express something she does not wish to express. "The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands," Gorsuch wrote. "Colorado cannot deny that promise consistent with the First Amendment."
Today’s disturbing ruling licenses America to discriminate against LGBTI+ people. Now any business can use their disapproval of sexuality minorities to justify refusing to sell us services. Though it is important to note the limits of the decision as well. This license to discriminate only applies to those who sell their original and tailored, expressive service while carefully vetting each project for alignment with their own views. Though narrow - its dangers are ever present.
Surely if in business one must be open to everyone. How far can such a ruling extend? Justice Sotomayor notes in her dissent, ‘the Court, for the first time in its history, grants a business open to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class.’” This is an horrid manipulation of the First Amendment Right, a victory for America's extremists - for now. What are we going to manipulate next the freedom of religion? The second amendment? It is time for the civil rights and human rights communities to all work together to fight against these assaults.