You've likely heard a lot about cake today. That's because the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case this morning involving a same-sex couple and a Christian baker who refused to sell them a wedding cake.
In short, the baker asserts that his refusal to make the couple's cake is protected by his rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Or, even shorter: that his religious freedom translates into the right to discriminate.
Because, truly, this is what discrimination looks like. The baker's issue was not about the design on the cake; it was simply a wedding cake. He refused to sell the cake only because of who was purchasing it (a gay couple) and what they intended to do with it (celebrate their marriage).
Could the couple have purchased a dessert from another baker? Sure, at least in the Denver area where they happened to live. But this is about more than cake. It has always been about more than cake. At its core, this case is about our right to access services—free from discrimination—in places like hospitals, restaurants, hotels, civic spaces and, yes, bakeries. It's about our right to be treated as equals.
And that right to equality is under attack, increasingly under the guise of religious freedom. We're seeing it far too often in health care, whether it's a provider refusing services to a transgender patient, a hospital refusing to care for a miscarrying patient, or a pharmacy refusing to fill birth control prescriptions.
If the Court validates religion as a basis to discriminate, countless people could be denied services because of who they are: their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more. It could fundamentally alter state policies that promote equality, such as Washington's Law Against Discrimination.
Regardless of this case's outcome, we will continue to defend your right to be who you are, be with who you love, and be treated with equality and respect.
- Read the amicus brief filed by National Women's Law Center, Legal Voice, and other organizations