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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/10/18

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Colorado Cake Shop Case Is Major Step in Embedding Anti-LGBTQ Bigotry into Law

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This Outrage Is Intolerable--It Cannot Be Allowed to Stand!

On June 4, the "highest court of the land" gave official endorsement to bigotry and hate against LGBTQ people. In a 7-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado cake shop owner who had refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, in violation of a state law barring discrimination based on "race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation."

Six years ago, David Mullins and Charlie Craig went to a baker in a Denver suburb to order a wedding cake for a party they were planning in celebration of their marriage. The Christian fundamentalist owner of the bakery, Jack Phillips, outright refused, saying that making a cake for a gay couple would violate his "religious beliefs." Mullins and Craig filed a successful complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, beginning a legal battle that has now culminated with the Supreme Court ruling on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy declared that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had acted with what he described as "clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated" Phillips. Kennedy aimed particular fire at one commission member, quoting the commissioner saying, in part, "Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the holocaust"we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination."

What does it say that in the year 2018, the overwhelming majority of the U.S. Supreme Court harshly attacks a true and indisputable statement about how religion has been used to justify immense horrors (see, for example, in relation to slavery in the U.S., Bob Avakian's Away With All Gods!, in particular the section "The Bible Belt Is the Lynching Belt: Slavery, White Supremacy and Religion in America")--while praising a hateful fundamentalist bigot for his "sincere religious beliefs"?!

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It points to the fact that the upholding of "traditional family values"--with the subjugation of women, persecution of LGBTQ people, and other oppression that come with it--has been and continues to be an integral part of the system we live under, the system of capitalism-imperialism. Time's up for this thoroughly rotten and monstrous system--it needs to be overthrown through an actual revolution!

And now, this system has brought forth a fascist regime that includes, as a key component, representatives of a powerful Christian fascist movement that has been working for decades to achieve their vision of re-cohering society under draconian religious fundamentalist norms and morality, including open demonization and persecution of LGBTQ people and Handmaid's Tale-like clamping down on women. They have their sights on building an American theocracy--an undisguised white Christian nation with laws based on a literalist reading of the Bible, along with an aggressive, nuclear-armed "manifest destiny" imperialism around the world. If the Trump/Pence regime is allowed to succeed in consolidating its rule, this would bring unimaginably greater horrors down on humanity than what the U.S. empire has already carried out since it came on the world stage.

The Supreme Court's cake shop ruling included some words claiming to reaffirm gay rights protections. If anyone is consoled and given hope by this, taking it as a sign that "maybe we can continue to rely on the system to do right"--that is a dangerous illusion. Look at what has been happening: The Trump/Pence regime has taken steps to legitimize discrimination against transgender people. Trump "joked" that Pence wants to hang all gay people. A Department of Justice lawyer argued that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not prevent an employer from firing someone because of their sexual orientation. A Trump nominee for a federal judgeship is on record as saying, "Guess what? I attend a conservative Baptist church. We discriminate, all right. On the basis of sexual orientation, we discriminate."

In the Supreme Court cake shop case, the Trump/Pence regime filed a brief for Phillips, stating that "Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights." And now, the Supreme Court has handed down a decision that embeds anti-LGBTQ ignorance and prejudices into law, enforced by the state. The implications of this decision are far reaching and ominous. It could open the floodgates to all kinds of state-sanctioned discrimination against LGBTQ people, using religion and "free speech" as justifications--and it is a green light to stepped-up anti-LGBTQ discrimination and violence throughout society. The same anti-LGBTQ laws could also be used to justify vicious and cruel discrimination against Muslims, against people who speak Spanish, against Black people, and others.

All this must not just be opposed--it must be STOPPED!

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