In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of plaintiff Lorie Smith (Creative LLC), who requested an injunction against having to expand her business to include designing websites for same-sex weddings. According to Smith’s argument, “she will not produce content that ‘contradicts biblical truth'” and that includes same-sex marriage.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett all ruled in favor of Smith, with Gorsuch filing the majority opinion. The filing ends by saying, “Consistent with the First Amendment, the Nation’s answer is tolerance, not coercion. 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. Colorado cannot deny that promise consistent with the First Amendment.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered the dissent, stating that “Today, 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.”
She continued, expressing the same frustration many LGBTQ+ people and allies are feeling as well. “Around the country, there has been a backlash to the movement for liberty and equality for gender and sexual minorities. New forms of inclusion have been met with reactionary exclusion. This is heartbreaking. Sadly, it is also familiar. When the civil rights and women’s rights movements sought equality in public life, some public establishments refused. Some even claimed, based on sincere religious beliefs, constitutional rights to discriminate. The brave Justices who once sat on this Court decisively rejected those claims.”
Reactions are still coming in from LGBTQ+ civil and legal organizations. Shortly after the ruling was released, Human Rights Campaign tweeted, “This is a dangerous step backward and gives some businesses the license to discriminate.”
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg tweeted from his personal account, “Discrimination is wrong. Using religion as an excuse to discriminate is wrong – and unconstitutional. The Court’s minority is right: the Constitution is no license for a business to discriminate. Today’s ruling will move America backward.”
News is Out will continue to include responses from LGBTQ+ organizations as they come in.
On Thursday, SCOTUS also struck down affirmative action in college admissions process, that has long helped even the playing field for BIPOC students. Word in Black’s Aziah Siid shares what the SCOTUS decision may mean for Black students.