Do businesses have a right to discriminate against you simply because of who you are? That's what the ACLU is arguing against at the Supreme Court in December.
Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig were in the midst of planning their wedding when they visited the Masterpiece Cakeshop, a Colorado bakery, to purchase a cake for their reception. The bakery refused once they realized Dave and Charlie were a same-sex couple.
We agreed decades ago as a country that businesses should not be allowed to discriminate against people simply because of who they are—and that includes sexual orientation. Yet Masterpiece Cakeshop is arguing that their artistic expression under freedom of speech is being compromised.
Masterpiece Cakeshop is arguing for a license to discriminate, and it’s a slippery slope. A hair salon could refuse to cut hair for bat mitzvah or a caterer could refuse to prepare food for an interracial couple. A funeral home could refuse service to the surviving spouse of a LGBTQ couple.
The case has made its way all the way up to the Supreme Court. And what is decided will have a sweeping impact across the country.
Minnesota has its own nondiscrimination statute 363A.17 that prohibits businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation. But Colorado has a similar, longstanding law. What is decided at the Supreme Court will have a wide-reaching impact across the country.
A business owner can refuse, of course, to make wedding cakes. According to federal and state law, they just can’t refuse to make them for some people based on their race, religion, sex, gender identity, disability and yes, sexual orientation. We will not allow fundamental rights to be rolled back. All of us, including business owners, need to show up for basic civil liberties. This year it happened in Colorado. But next year it could be Minnesota.
Nobody should be turned away from a business, denied a service, fired from their job, or evicted from their home simply because of who they are. That’s why the ACLU of Minnesota is showing up in support of Dave and Charlie—to help fight for the values of equality that should be central to our country and state.
Between now and December 5, we are asking people across the state to join a nationwide canvassing effort. We are asking Minnesotans to visit businesses and ask them to display an “Open to All” sign to demonstrate their support and solidarity with Dave and Charlie.
Join a People Power group by visiting https://www.peoplepower.org to download your own “Open to All” sign to print and distribute to local businesses. You can also sign-on to a statement of support that will be delivered to the Supreme Court Justices.
The time to show up and defend the principles of equality and freedom is now.