Supreme Court Ruling Limited in Scope

Washington, D.C. - The League of United Latin American Citizens maintains that the Supreme Court decision which favored a bakery owner’s refusal to create a wedding cake for a gay couple, leaves a far larger question unanswered of whether businesses should be required to be open for all.

“We are disappointed that Monday’s 7-2 ruling by the justices fails to affirm the civil rights of all people in our country and the cry by the LGBTQ community for equality and fair treatment,” said Sindy Benavides, LULAC COO and Acting CEO. “The decision represents a missed opportunity to send a clear message that supports gay rights as human rights and that they are part of our nation’s fabric,” she added.

In writing for the majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said a state commission in Colorado violated the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom in ruling against the baker, Jack Phillips. Instead, stated Justice Kennedy, the commission displayed, “some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated his objection.”

“The ruling applies only to this one case and fails to address the underlying civil rights question of whether certain Americans can be turned away as undesirable customers based upon an owner’s sole discretion, irrespective of the basis for that decision,” said Benavides. “However, we are pleased that the Court strongly affirmed protections for gay rights and left open the possibility that other similar cases in the future might be decided differently,” said Benavides.

The case is based on an encounter in 2012, when David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Mr. Phillips’s bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, in Lakewood, Colo. The two men were going to be married and were looking for a wedding cake for a reception. Phillips declined citing his religious beliefs.

“Our disappointment that there was not a clear decision by the Court on the fundamental question of a person’s expectation of equality stems from the very real concern that next time this could be a Latino being turned away by a business, say on an immigration pretext or because they speak a different language,” stated Benavides. “We applaud Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg for recognizing that this incident sets a dangerous precedent and creates a very slippery slope which threatens decades of civil rights progress in America,” concluded Benavides.

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The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with over 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org

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