SCOTUS Makes Massive Ruling On Gay Couples

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

It’s been a week of major victories for conservatives at the top judicial level.

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated race-conscious student admissions programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina.

The judges granted the appeal of lower court decisions upholding the two elite institutions’ initiatives to promote a diverse student body on behalf of Students for Fair Admissions, a group formed by anti-affirmative action activist Edward Blum.

The verdict, supported by the court’s conservative members with the liberal justices dissenting, was 6-3 in favor of Harvard and 6-2 against the University of North Carolina. Ketanji Brown Jackson, a liberal justice, abstained from the Harvard case.

Those on the left went into a complete tailspin upon hearing the news. It would only get better for the right, though.

By a vote of 6-3, the Supreme Court decided on Friday that a Christian graphic designer who wants to create wedding websites has the right to reject work from same-sex couples.

Despite a Colorado law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, color, gender, and other factors, the court found in favor of fashion designer Lorie Smith. Smith had argued that the law went against her right to free expression.

Smith’s opponents cautioned that if she won, a variety of businesses would be free to discriminate against consumers who identify as Black, Jewish, Muslim, interracial or interfaith couples, or immigrants. But Smith and the people who backed her said that if she lost, other artists would be pressured to produce work that went against their moral convictions, including writers, singers, and even photographers, painters, and photographers.

Justice Neil Gorsuch declared on behalf of the court’s six conservative justices: “The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands.”

The liberal judges on the court endorsed Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s opposition. Sotomayor stated, “Today, the Court, for the first time in its history, grants a business open to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class.”

The ruling is a victory for religious freedom and is one of many recent instances in which the court have supported religious plaintiffs. For instance, a football coach who prayed on the field at his public high school after games received a favorable ruling from the court last year based on ideological principles.

The court’s ruling can be seen as a reversal of how it formerly ruled on homosexual rights issues. The court has been extending the rights of LGBTQ people for 20 years; most significantly, in 2015, it granted same-sex couples the ability to get married. Five years later, it declared that a historic civil rights statute also shields gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals from discrimination in the workplace. Gorsuch also authored the ruling on the civil rights law.

The court was careful to note that persons with different religious beliefs deserved to be respected even as it expanded LGBT rights. The idea that marriage must only be between one man and one woman “long has been held — and continues to be held — in good faith by reasonable and sincere people here and throughout the world,” Justice Anthony Kennedy declared in the court’s judgment on gay marriage.

The instance of a Christian baker who objected to creating a cake for a same-sex wedding brought the court back to that issue five years earlier. The baker, Jack Phillips, was granted a limited ruling by the court, which stated that the judge’s treatment of his case had been impermissibly hostile to his religious beliefs. The most recent instance was also brought before the court by Kristen Waggoner, Phillips’ attorney from the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Smith does not now produce wedding websites; he owns 303 Creative, a design firm in Colorado. She has said that while she would like to, her Christian beliefs would preclude her from developing websites that honor same-sex unions. She then runs afoul of state law in that situation.

Like the majority of other states, Colorado has a statute prohibiting businesses open to the public from treating consumers unfairly. According to Colorado’s public accommodations legislation, if Smith provides wedding websites to the general public, she must do so irrespective of a customer’s sexual preference. Businesses that break the law may face penalties in addition to fines. Smith asserted that her First Amendment rights are violated when the legislation is applied to her. The state disputed this.

This ruling and the one on Thursday were far from the conservative-majority court’s most major decision. The one that rocked the political landscape and in part led to a much smaller “red wave” in the 2022 midterms was the overturning of Roe-v-Wade.

The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which had legalized abortion across the country, was overturned by the court in two landmark decisions last year, which were also led by the conservative justices. The court also expanded gun rights in a single big ruling.

Former President Trump nominated three of the conservatives who helped make these rulings possible.

Source: The Denver Post


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