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Supreme Court Rules on LBGT Rights

August 24th, 2018
lgbt workers rights

Delaware County LBGTQ discrimination lawyers discuss the Supreme Court ruling on LBGT rights.The Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, in which it ruled in favor of a baker who refused to provide a cake for a gay couple’s wedding, has received national attention. While members of the LBGT community are understandably upset by the decision, it is not one that should affect employment law going forward. The decision impacts that case.

The case developed from a 2012 incident in Colorado, where a Denver baker and store owner told two men who were planning to wed that he would not bake a cake for them because of his religious views against same sex marriage. At the time, same-sex marriage was not legal on the federal level, and such marriages were not recognized in Colorado. The couple filed a complaint against Masterpiece Cakeshop with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC), alleging they were discriminated against in violation of the state’s anti-discrimination statutes. The CCRC ruled in their favor, as did state courts later.

A Narrow Approach

The majority opinion of the Supreme Court voting in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop stated that comments belittling the store owner’s religious beliefs at a CCRC hearing helped sway their decision. The majority opinion notes that the CCRC did not consider the case using religious neutrality, as the Constitution mandates. The Court ruled that the CCRC violated the Free Exercise Clause.

The court’s approach to the case was very narrow, and one prominent lawyer notes the Supreme Court threw the decision, as there was no ruling how religious freedom affects freedom from discrimination. In fact, the Supreme Court only found that the CCRC showed hostility to religion.

Tolerance Needed

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his opinion that disputes between the religious community and members of the LBGT community must be resolved with tolerance, neither disrespecting sincere religious beliefs nor subjecting LGBT people to indignities when they want to purchase goods and services. It is also a reminder that employers must allow reasonable accommodation based on their religious beliefs, but it does not provide guidance for either side in the debate.

In Colorado, nothing is changing regarding its anti-discrimination act, which pertains to both public accommodations and employers. No employer should assume that the Masterpiece Cake decision invalidates state or local anti-discrimination laws, or that it allows them to discriminate against LBGT people.

Delaware County LBGTQ Discrimination Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Fight for the Rights of LGBTQ Individuals

If you or a loved one has faced discrimination due to LBGTQ issues, you need the services of the experienced Delaware County LBGTQ discrimination lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. To schedule your free initial consultation, call us today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online. We are centrally located in Philadelphia, and we serve clients from the surround areas, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.

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