The US Supreme Court is currently deciding Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. A final decision won’t come down until late spring or summer.
There’s no denying the impact of this court case.
At its core, it pits equality and discrimination against two First Amendment clauses: freedom of speech and religion. Can business owners turn away patrons — like LGBTI people — because it goes against their religion? Or because their product, like a cake is considered protected speech?
One California judge already said yes.
50 years ago, however, the Supreme Court said no in a similar case.
Treat customers equally
In an 8-0 decision, the Supreme Court favored equality over discrimination Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises, Inc. They heard and decided this case in 1968.
Piggie Park Enterprises was a drive-in BBQ in the 1960s. Maurice Bessinger, a Baptist and owner of Piggie Park, refused to serve black people. A lawsuit was filed against him and the Supreme Court found in favor of the plaintiff.
For the 50th anniversary of the case, 80 LGBTI groups banded together to encourage the Supreme Court to once again make the right decision.
‘As Americans, we decided long ago that when a business opens their doors, they should be open to everyone on the same terms.’
The video is part of the Movement Advancement Project. It argues that the Piggie Park decision is a core foundation of the Civil Rights movement and how America treats people.
However, Masterpiece Cakeshop is a new case ‘that could turn back the clock and create a new right to discriminate in our nation’s Constitution’.
‘Do we really want to give businesses the right to say, “We don’t serve your kind here,” or humiliate them in front of their loved ones?’
As part of the project, the groups declared 12-18 March Open to All Week.
This is not about religious beliefs
Numerous others have spoken up about the devastating consequences of this case.
Religious leaders across the country don’t support the baker. They believe this case is about discrimination, not religious freedom.
Irene Monroe believes this could bring about a new Jim Crow era for LGBTI people.