Businesses Serving the Public Should be Open to All When two-year-old Katie fell and knocked her tooth out, her mom, Jane, did what any mom would do, she rushed her crying, bleeding child to the dentist. But when she arrived, the dentist told her, “A child cannot have two mothers so the ‘real mom’ has to be here.” She called her wife Marie to tell her, “You have to come and bring Katy’s birth certificate proving you are her mom before they will treat her.”
Jane and Marie’s experience is just one of the many real-life stories of discrimination featured in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court that Equality Federation recently signed on to. The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, ignited when a cake shop denied service to a gay couple who was preparing for their wedding, but it’s about so much more than a cake shop.
When we go out to lunch, the mechanic, or to take our kids to the doctor, we don’t expect to be subject to discrimination. That’s what this case is about. It’s about all of us, all Americans—like Jane and Marie, like your neighbors, and you—having the ability to live our daily lives without discrimination.
At a time when women are revealing the level of harassment commonly experienced in the workplace, we know that mistreatment is not exaggerated but is actually severely underreported. Creating a right to discriminate in this climate is a slap in the face to all of those who have had the courage to step forward.
Most business owners stand against discrimination, but we need to protect the laws that safeguard us from the bad actors.
In addition to the Trump Administration, several anti-LGBTQ, right-wing groups, such as the multi-million dollar organization Alliance Defending Freedom, are behind the efforts to encourage the Supreme Court to rule against fairness. These are the same groups who want to build a wall, ban transgender people from restrooms, and prevent reproductive freedom. They want to take us back to a day in America when businesses could say, “your kind isn’t welcome here.”
It is alarming that a broad ruling in this case could undermine decades of progress, even poking holes in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It would mean anyone could be turned away from public-serving businesses based on their race, religion, or gender.
The Masterpiece case should make the hairs on the back of our necks
stand up. It should make us angry. Visit OpenToAll.org to stand with us and protect our communities from discrimination and hatred.
*Katie, Jane, & Marie are fictitious names to protect the identity of the family.