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Another Day, Another Decision: SCOTUS Doesn’t Separate Church and State

Posted by Sara Cooper | Jun 30, 2023 | 0 Comments

ACLU Florida

BREAKING NEWS – The Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that allows Christians to use their free-speech to deny certain services for same-sex marriages, even in the state of California where there are laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The case was based upon a Colorado graphic designer that wanted to expand their services for her business but wanted to exclude gay couples. She cited her belief as a Christian that marriage is limited to a man and a woman. Her lawyers also included the right to not speak which was also granted. The ruling was limited to matters of speech and expression, and it does not appear to create a broad right for businesses or stores to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

“The 1st Amendment prohibits Colorado from forcing a website designer to create expressive designs speaking messages with which the designer disagrees,” Justice Neil M. Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion.

In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote: “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."

This is a big victory for Christian-based individuals and groups. For example, the Alliance Defending Freedom in Arizona has been in numerous legal battles on behalf of wedding planners, cake makers, and other marriage-related businesses that did not want to serve same-sex couples due to “violating their religious beliefs and their right to free expression.”

This decision is a setback for the LGBTQ+ community, violating civil rights and their autonomy in marriage and consumerism. With the recent rise of anti-trans bills passed in Congress and last year's reversal of Roe v. Wade, further discriminatory laws and rulings will unfortunately not be a surprise.

Gay rights should not be secondary to equal rights, and your religious affiliation should not supersede the protections and agency of others' identities.

Read the full opinion here.

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