National Black Justice Coalition Responds to Supreme Court’s Decision on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
NBJC asserts that the decision enables business owners to discriminate against any minority group by claiming religious freedom
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 4, 2018) – The National Black Justice Coalition today responded to the Supreme Court’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission after the Court ruled by 7-2 decision in favor of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. The decision comes as LGBTQ Pride Month kicks off and on the heels of multiple incidents in which business owners have blatantly discriminated against Black people based on their race and sexual identity. NBJC is the nation’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.
NBJC Executive Director David J. Johns released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court decision:
“The Supreme Court’s ruling today is a step backwards in advancing civil rights for LGBTQ people and opens the door for business owners to discriminate against customers based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or any other reason they choose, so long as they wrap themselves in their cloak of religious freedom.”
“Though the Court claims this is case-specific, one must ask, ‘Where and how do you draw the line?’ The right to religious freedom is already enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, but religious freedom should not give anyone the right to impose beliefs on others or to discriminate on that basis. This decision can potentially impact every minority group in this country, especially intersectional minority groups.”
“Black people – and especially Black people who identify as LGBTQ or same gender loving — continue to face discrimination and injustices in this country every day, and sadly, many of the offenders attribute their bias and stigma to religion. The Masterpiece case derives from Colorado, which has inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. However, many of the states where Black LGBTQ/SGL people live, especially in the South, do not have these critical protections. In recent weeks, we have seen Black LGBTQ individuals such as Anthony Wall, a Black gay man in North Carolina, and Deja Smith, a Black transgender woman in New York, discriminated against because of their identity in public establishments. I fear that today’s decision has the capacity to embolden those business owners who do not wish to serve our community and allows them to use this federal case as their foundation to discriminate on the grounds of religious freedom.”
“Despite today’s decision, the National Black Justice Coalition will continue its daily fight to eradicate racism,homophobia, and LGBTQ/SGL bias. This goes to show we have much more work to do to ensure equal protection under the law and to improve cultural competence in ways that make space for every member of the Black and LGBTQ communities.”