Equality Virginia: Supreme Court gives narrow win to Baker, upholds state nondiscrimination protections

equality virginiaThe Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision in favor of the baker in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case is limited specifically to this one case and calls into question actions from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission – but it leaves intact Colorado’s LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination protections, as well as similar protections in 19 states and 200+ cities and towns.

The court expressly recognized that states can seek to prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority of the Supreme Court, stated, “Our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth. For that reason the laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect them in the exercise of their civil rights.”

Our nation decided more than 50 years ago that when a business decides to open its doors to the public, that business should be open to all. That principle reflects the core American value of treating others as we wish to be treated. That’s why businesses, civil rights advocates, religious leaders, health organizations, labor groups, LGBT people and our friends, families and allies are joining together to call on Congress to pass the Equality Act and create one set of rules for everyone.

James Parish, executive director of Equality Virginia, said, “The majority of Virginians agree that we need to update our state’s laws to provide nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people and our families in housing, the workplace, and in places like shops and restaurants. Now, we need all hands on deck to make it happen!”

Rebecca Isaacs, executive director of Equality Federation said, “Some will use this narrow ruling as fuel to divide us, but America is stronger when we work together and remain united for fairness across our differences in race, faith, and types of families. It is critical that we continue to fight discrimination. Full equality is our mission and that is what Equality Federation and our member organizations in every state will continue to achieve one step at a time.”

For more information on the status of securing protections for LGBT people in Virginia, visit www.equalityvirginia.org/generalassembly

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