Amicus Briefs Demonstrate Broad Support for Equality in Masterpiece CaseOctober 30, 2017 • 3:45 pm
WASHINGTON – Briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court today indicate broad support for ensuring all Americans – including LGBTQ people – are treated fairly and equally when accessing public businesses. The Court will hear oral argument in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case on December 5th, and today businesses large and small, conservatives, people of faith, and municipal leaders from across the country agreed in a series of briefs that businesses open to the public must serve everyone.
At the heart of the Masterpiece case is the question of whether nondiscrimination laws can continue to be enforced without sweeping and dangerous exemptions. The case itself involves a Colorado bakery that refused to sell a cake to a same-sex couple celebrating their civil marriage. This action was in direct violation of Colorado’s nondiscrimination law, and both the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and the state appellate court ruled in favor of the couple.
“In seeking an exemption from his obligation to serve everyone equally, the business owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop is asking the Supreme Court to grant him a sweeping license to discriminate,” said Kasey Suffredini, acting CEO and president of strategy at Freedom for All Americans. “The dozens of friend-of-the-court briefs filed this week and signed by thousands of experts, scholars, and organizations showcase the diverse support for equal treatment and fairness for all. Nondiscrimination laws allow states and local governments to protect their residents from unequal treatment. These laws ensure all of us can participate in public life, and nothing should undermine that promise in America.”
FFAA supported the development of multiple briefs filed today – including a faith brief, a municipal leaders brief, and a small business brief. The faith brief features nearly 1,300 clergy from approximately 50 faith traditions across the country, representing half a million congregants. The municipal brief features more than 150 mayors representing 50 million constituents from big cities and smaller municipalities across the country – many of whom were activated through FFAA’s Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination program. And the small business brief features leading small business organizations, including Main Street Alliance and the American Independent Business Alliance. Collectively, more than 61,000 small businesses from across the country are represented on the brief.
“Our work to achieve an America where every single LGBTQ person lives free from discrimination will be enormously impacted by the outcome of this case,” added Suffredini. “As hostile legal challenges wind their way through our courts and the administration seeks to undermine equality, it’s incumbent upon us to share stories that illustrate the devastating consequences of discrimination and mobilize our allies.”
Recently, the Trump Administration announced it would support the bakery in seeking an exemption from the existing nondiscrimination law. The administration’s action is reflective of a larger effort to roll back or eliminate LGBTQ Americans from nondiscrimination protections.
The Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Masterpiece on December 5th. For the latest on Masterpiece and other key pieces of litigation, you can visit FFAA’s Litigation Tracker.
Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.