GARDEN STATE EQUALITY: SUPREME COURT REVERSES COLORADO CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISION DECISION, RULING NARROWLY IN FAVOR OF COLORADO BAKER

SUPREME COURT REVERSES COLORADO CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISION DECISION, RULING NARROWLY IN FAVOR OF COLORADO BAKER

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who used the basis of religious liberty to refuse baking a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding ceremony. However, the Court took pains to make clear that the decision does not grant an open license to discriminate against the LGBT community based on religion, reinforcing that gays and lesbians are entitled to “dignity and worth” and “tolerance.”

Garden State Equality Executive Director Christian Fuscarino issued the following statement today regarding the Court’s decision:

“This 7-2 ruling is narrow and is not a wide-ranging decision on religious liberty. Arguments against our basic civil rights protections were not factored into the case, as that could have led to a damaging ripple-effect in other instances of discriminatory acts. In fact, an important take-away is the majority of U.S. Supreme Court reinforced that ‘society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth. For that reason the laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect them in the exercise of their civil rights. The exercise of their freedom on terms equal to others must be given great weight and respect by the courts.’

“The Court added that ‘disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.’

“Our disappointment with the result today is tempered by the fact that the Court again held that gay men and lesbians are entitled to full equality before the law. The highest court in our land stepped in and made clear bigotry, religious or otherwise, has no place in this country. Today does not represent the end of this fight, but merely a continuation. We have no doubt though that when this fight ends, justice and equality will be the final result.”

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