LGBTQ organizations team up to show what life under ‘religious freedom’ laws could look like

The Supreme Court's decision concerning another case has advocates worried

A group of LGBTQ rights organizations have banded together to show what life could be like under so-called “religious freedom” laws that would grant a right to discriminate.

Oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case begin on Dec. 5. Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding.

If the Supreme Court decides Phillips should be allowed to discriminate, citing his religious beliefs as motivation, it will set a dangerous precedent that the rights of one group ends where the dogma of another begins. 

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The new initiative, Open To All, is a national campaign to keep civil rights progress moving forward in spite of this latest attack. 

It is supported by over 75 different organizations, including Equality NC and Time Out Youth, locally. 

“If the Supreme Court gives businesses a constitutional right to discriminate, it would have implications that reach far beyond bakeries,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of the Movement Advancement Project (MAP). “If the Court carves out a broad exemption in nondiscrimination laws for so-called ‘creative’ enterprises, we could see an explosion of discrimination by restaurants, hair salons, event venues, funeral parlors and more. And the impact of such a decision wouldn’t be limited to LGBT people; it could be used to allow discrimination against people of color, women, minority faiths, people with disabilities, and others.”

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In addition to launching the website opentoall.com, the coalition of groups has also released two ads, one called “We Don’t Serve Your Kind Here,” and another called, “License to Discriminate.”

A decision today by the Supreme Court not to take up a challenge to a Texas Supreme Court ruling stating that same-sex couples don’t have a de facto right to benefits is concerning going into the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.

Charlotte connection

Phillips is being represented by the far right religious legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom, that drafted a letter against Charlotte expanding its nondiscrimination ordinance to protect LGBTQ people. 

Charlotte City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield recently announced on Twitter that she would be boycotting the new restaurant of one of the signers of that letter, Jim Noble. 

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Posted by Jeff Taylor / Social Media Editor

Jeff Taylor is a journalist and artist. In addition to QNotes, his work has appeared in publications such The Charlotte Observer, Creative Loafing Charlotte, Inside Lacrosse, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. He graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport and has lived in Charlotte since 2006.@jefftaylorhuman.