Hey folks, people are understandably upset about the decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop, the case in which a baker refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
I am quite upset, too, BUT... we need to be clear on some things:
The ruling was a 7-2 decision on the PROCEDURE of the case, not the merits of the central debate.
It was NOT a ruling that discrimination against LGBTQ people by businesses is okay. The *only* thing it was ruling is that the baker in question did not receive a fair and impartial hearing by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
This decision is based on the CCRC's "hostility" in their rhetoric toward the baker's religious beliefs.
That's it. That's all.
In fact, Kennedy, in his majority opinion, acknowledges anti-LGBTQ discrimination and asserts "[religious] objections do not allow business owners and other actors in the economy and in society to deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable accommodations law.”
There are no civil rights changes here. None. Zero.
Now, that being said... the *perception* of this ruling--that it does give a license to discriminate--will almost certainly enable some to discriminate against LGBTQ people. We must be vigilant about this. We must fight it. Because it's definitely coming.
But I want to ensure folks understand that as shitty as this announcement was, it could have been much, much, much worse.
Frankly, I'm relieved. If SCOTUS had issued a 5-4 ruling that broadly permitted businesses to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on "religious beliefs", that's it. That's game over. Nothing less than a constitutional amendment--or a future SCOTUS ruling with a much different court makeup--would change that.
But that's not what happened. If anything, SCOTUS may well have used this technicality to kick the can down the road. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to find out years later that the liberal wing of the court convinced their colleagues to let this go until a clean case with proper procedure was brought before them.
So, yeah... I'm upset today, but I'm not devastated. And I'm more relieved than anything. I will likely face some sort of discrimination in more conservative areas in the coming years, and that breaks my heart. But I thank my lucky stars said discrimination wasn't codified in law for the foreseeable future.