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Task Force Submits Amici Curiae Brief in SCOTUS “Masterpiece Cakeshop” Case

“Discrimination should be against the law. Plain and simple.” – Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force

(Washington, DC) – Today, the National LGBTQ Task Force submitted an amici curiae brief in support of respondents in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. and Jack C. Phillips, petitioners, v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Charlie Craig, and David Mullins at the Supreme Court of the United States. The brief is available here.

In the brief, the National LGBTQ Task Force examines the intersection of race-based discrimination and anti-LGBTQ discrimination, showing that religion should never be an acceptable reason to refuse services to anyone. “LGBTQ people of color are often subject to multifaceted discrimination. It may be impossible to know whether an act of discrimination is motivated by race or sexual orientation,” argues the National LGBTQ Task Force. The brief was joined by 12 other progressive organizations from the following communities: LGBTQ, disability rights, reproductive health, justice and criminal justice.

“The Task Force argues that business owners’ personal beliefs should not exempt commercial enterprises from the reach of generally applicable public-accommodations laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” said Candace Bond-Theriault, Esq., LL.M. Senior Policy Counsel, Reproductive Health, Rights, & Justice, Democracy Project Director, and author of the brief. “Simply put, our laws protect people from discrimination. Personal beliefs have no right in limiting who should and should not have access to shopping, restaurants, car repair and so forth.”

“For decades, this Court’s decisions have established that a business owner’s views on race or interracial couples—no matter how sincere or deeply held, and even if religion based—do not justify an exception allowing race-based discrimination. But recognizing such an exception for a business owner’s views on sexual orientation or gender identity would exacerbate the multiple layers of discrimination that LGBTQ people of color already face in public accommodations, housing, and employment. Indeed, it could open the door to legally permissible discrimination based on the intersections of race, sexual orientation, and gender identity,” states the brief.

“Discrimination should be against the law. Plain and simple. We are especially concerned with multiple layers of discrimination for LGBTQ communities of color, and we affirm established anti-discrimination law,” said Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force. “This case has the potential to roll us back half-a-decade to a time when LGBTQ people were in the closet, afraid to be ourselves. We refuse to return to those ugly days.”

The National LGBTQ Task Force is the oldest national LGBTQ advocacy group in the country. The Task Force builds power, takes action and creates change to achieve freedom and justice for LGBTQ people and their families. As a progressive social-justice organization, the Task Force works to achieve equality and equity for all and toward a society that values and respects the diversity of human expression and identity.

The National LGBTQ Task Force brief was joined by: GLAAD, Basic Rights Oregon, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity, LGBT Technology Partnership, National Coalition for LGBT Health, National Equality Action Team, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, SisterSong: National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, Autistic Self Advocacy Network and Witness to Mass Incarceration.