In the Wake of Masterpiece Cakeshop Ruling, ABC Asks ‘What Would You Do?’By Shane Stahl • June 27, 2018 • 10:53 am
Following the decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court Case, where the Justices determined that the state’s Civil Rights Commission had erred in its handling of a case concerning a Colorado bakery that refused service to a same-sex couple, ABC has spotlighted the potential consequences of the decision in their hidden camera show What Would You Do?
While the high court stopped short of issuing a broad license to discriminate, and Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion included a statement that discriminating against LGBTQ people is unlawful, the decision has highlighted the issue of anti-LGBTQ religious exemptions and their use by businesses to enable discrimination.
The latest airing of the ABC show, hosted by George Quinoñes, presents a hypothetical situation where a bakery owner openly refuses service to a same-sex couple seeking a wedding cake. Both the couple and the bakery owner are portrayed by actors; however, the other patrons are unaware of the setup, thereby indirectly asking them the question in the show’s title. Watch:
During the segment, the majority of those featured rush to the aid of the couple, with several visibly upset at the words and actions of the actor playing the owner, especially as he gradually increases his hostility. As they are interviewed after learning they were on camera, one after the other speak out against the cruelty and discrimination the couple was facing.
The responses are in line with the views of a majority of Americans. 54% of people believe businesses should not have the rights to discriminate based on their religious beliefs; 56% of small business owners themselves agree. Nearly 80% of business owners believe that a federal nondiscrimination law needs to be put into place.
Although it is heartening to see the response of others in the segment, the fact remains that in 31 states, comprehensive statewide nondiscrimination protections do not exist, meaning that LGBTQ couples like that portrayed could very well be told to take their business elsewhere. This can be especially difficult for LGBTQ couples and individuals in areas where a variety of vendors and services do not exist.
Currently, Congress is considering the Equality Act, which would create a federal law prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ people in housing, employment, and public accommodations. Although the bill has seen bipartisan support, it has yet to make its way to the floor of either chamber. This Pride season, Freedom For All Americans is encouraging people to contact their lawmakers, asking them to support nationwide nondiscrimination protections. Click here to email your Senators and Representatives.