Tuesday, June 5, 2018

GLAD Lawyers Talk U.S. Supreme Court Cakeshop Ruling (AUDIO)

Produced by Charlotte Robinson

In this exclusive audio podcast Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ participated in a conference call with GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders Civil Rights Project Director Mary Bonauto and GLAD's Legal Director Gary Buseck about the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado. Mary Bonauto successfully argued the marriage equality case Obergefell v. Hodges before the Supreme Court in 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision in favor of the baker in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case is limited specifically to the unique circumstances of this case and calls into question actions from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission but it leaves intact Colorado’s LGBTQ inclusive nondiscrimination protections as well as similar protections in 19 states and 200+ cities and towns. In fact the court expressly recognized that states can seek to prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBTQ people. The Court stated “As a general rule religious or philosophical objections to other people do[es] not allow business owners or economic or societal actors to deny protected persons equal access to goods and services or to put up signs excluding them.” This ruling rejected the central premise of the Cakeshop and U.S. Department of Justice both of which sought to use religion and free speech to justify discrimination against a gay couple. The Court did recognize the harm of discrimination and reaffirmed that states can act to protect our LGBTQ community from discrimination.

Bonauto stated, “Ironically, the Bakeshop and baker technically won, but only because the Supreme Court ruled that they had not received “neutral and respectful consideration” of their arguments by the state commission that heard and decided their case. To that end, the Court cited comments made by Commissioners on the case that the Court said denigrated religion, suggested incompatibility between being a person of faith and person in business, and noted what it said was a possible inconsistency with the Commission’s precedents. In any event, this limited ruling provides no basis for this Bakeshop or other entities covered by anti-discrimination laws to refuse goods and services in the name of free speech or religion.”

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) is a non-profit legal rights organization that works to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity and expression. The organization primarily achieves this goal through litigation, advocacy and education work in all areas of LGBTQ rights and the rights of people living with HIV. In addition, GLAD operates a legal information line, GLAD Answers, where LGBTQ & HIV+ residents of New England can receive attorney referrals and information about their rights.
For More Info: glad.org

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