As you may have heard, today, in a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a long-awaited decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.
While their narrow ruling in favor of a business owner in Colorado, who refused to sell a gay couple a wedding cake, does not have the sweeping scope and broad impact on civil rights laws it could have had, it is still a serious loss for our community.
The basis of the decision is directed at the handling of the case by the Colorado Human Rights Commission. It does not grant a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people or overturn nondiscrimination protections already in place—but it leaves the door wide open for further challenges on the rights of LGBTQ to be brought back to the court to resolve the question of “religious freedom.”
But the loss for our community goes beyond this particular ruling, because it puts a very fine point on the chilling truth that our rights and the value of our lives are still a debatable question. Challenges are still being brought daily about the worth of our humanity, and the Supreme Court is still weighing in about whether we get to be full, equal, protected members of this country
The reality is that we need to be prepared for immediate, more expansive backlash by emboldened opponents of equality who believe this ruling grants them permission to discriminate based on religious beliefs, even though it clearly does not.
Regardless of what the justices decided, we know the truth is simple: We should not have to live our lives like this, wondering whether we will be fired from our jobs, denied housing, or worse because of who we are and who we love. We should not have to continually defend our right to be seen, treated, and protected as full people in the places we call home.
And this is what we will continue to fight for, with renewed determination, knowing that our community deserves better than this.
Despite this loss, I encourage you not to lose hope. Because right now, our community needs us all to keep showing up and fighting for a world where our value as human beings is not decided in a courtroom.
The road ahead will not be as smooth as we had hoped, but we do not have the luxury of giving up. What is required in this moment is our continued vigilance and heightened civic engagement, especially as we head into elections this summer and fall. We encourage you to use this opportunity to call your representative and urge them to support the Equality Act.
Pride Foundation will continue working with businesses and organizations throughout the country to improve their employee protections—and we will continue supporting the businesses that support our communities.. We will keep engaging in robust policy, advocacy, and public education efforts throughout the Northwest, with an explicit focus on securing national and local nondiscrimination protections and defending those we have already gained.
We will always fight to ensure that everyone is safe, protected, and valued—and has the freedom to be who they are.
Thank you for your continued commitment and for everything you do to advance equity for LGBTQ people—and for never giving up.
Kris Hermanns is Pride Foundation Chief Executive Officer. Email Kris.