Supreme Court's Wedding Cake Case Is About More Than Gay People, Activists Warn

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More than two years after the Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, the justices are getting ready to decide whether business owners can cite their religious faith to deny service to same-sex couples.

Members of the LGBTQ community will be watching the Supreme Court closely on Tuesday when it hears the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The issue, simply put, is whether Colorado baker Jack Phillips was illegally discriminating against a same-sex couple or just exercising his right to religious freedom when he refused to create a cake for a wedding ceremony he viewed as sacrilegious. 

Before oral arguments even begin, a coalition of more than 80 pro-LGBTQ organizations is spreading the word about the case’s long-lasting implications. Calling itself Open to All, the alliance is spearheaded by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), an independent think tank focused on LGBTQ causes, and includes the American Civil Liberties Union, GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign among its supporters.

Open to All aims to show people how a Supreme Court victory for the baker would “open the door to sweeping discrimination” far beyond the queer community. The campaign launched last week with a website that breaks down the case in detail and features a pair of emotional videos that depict diverse people being rejected by business owners.

“As Americans, we decided long ago that when a business opens their doors to the public, they should serve everyone, on the same terms,” says a voiceover in the first video, which can be viewed above. “Imagine how you would feel if you were kicked out of a business simply because the owner didn’t want to serve people like you.”

“Nobody should be turned away from a business simply because of who they are,” says a woman in the second clip, which can be seen below. 

A Supreme Court decision for Phillips would have ramifications “that reach far beyond bakeries,” according to MAP.

“We could see an explosion of discrimination by restaurants, hair salons, event venues, funeral parlors and more,” Ineke Mushovic, executive director of MAP, said in a statement. In addition to LGBTQ people, Mushovic warned the ruling “could be used to allow discrimination against people of color, women, minority faiths, people with disabilities, and others.”

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