President Trump and Attorney General Sessions Want to Enshrine a Business Right to Discriminate Into the Constitution

Can businesses put up a sign that says, “We Don’t Sell To Gays?” President Trump says yes.

Today Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the Supreme Court in an amicus brief that businesses have a constitutional right to discriminate against lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That means that business owners could put a sign in the window saying, “We Don’t Serve Gays,” even if a state or Congress says anti-gay discrimination is unlawful.

While the Justice Department says this wouldn't necessarily allow businesses to turn people away because of their race, if the Constitution protects such a right to discriminate against gay people, it would also authorize businesses to discriminate based on national origin, sex, religion, disability, gender identity, or any other basis. That means businesses could put up other signs as well: “We Don’t Sell to Women.” “No Muslims.” “No Transgender People.” All in open defiance of the nation’s civil rights laws.

How did we get here?

The case before the Supreme Court has deceptively simple facts. Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig were planning their wedding reception in Colorado. Along with Charlie’s mom, Dave and Charlie went to the Masterpiece Cakeshop bakery near Denver to order a cake in July 2012. The bakery turned them away, saying it doesn’t make wedding cakes for gay couples because that would violate its religious beliefs and artistic freedom.

Everyone in this country should be opposed to such a radical ruling that would undermine America’s core commitment to equality.

Under long-standing Colorado law, businesses that are open to the public can’t turn customers away because they are lesbian, gay, or bisexual. That’s just what happened here, so Charlie and Dave sued. The Colorado courts agreed that it was discrimination and ruled that free speech and religious protections don’t give anyone a right to discriminate.

It’s easy to dismiss the case as trivial. Dave and Charlie could — and did — get a cake from another bakery. And few people would really want a cake from a bakery that doesn’t actually want to bake it.

But consider what a ruling for the bakery could mean here — constitutional protection for discrimination based on freedom of religion or expression. That’s breathtaking in its scope and consequences. It would mean that a florist could refuse to sell flowers for the funeral of an interfaith couple, a dance studio could turn away the children of an interracial couple, an architect could put up a sign saying, “No Jews,” a doctor could turn away transgender people altogether. And each and every law that makes discrimination illegal would be overridden by the constitutional right to discriminate.

In fact, the consequences go far beyond nondiscrimination laws.

If any business has a constitutional right to express its views or its religion by refusing to comply with a nondiscrimination law, it could defy other government rules as well. Businesses could refuse to follow food safety rules because they want to express themselves through their refusal. Or a company could flout consumer protection regulations because they are inconsistent with its religious beliefs.

This case has never been about the cake. It’s about whether anyone in America can be turned away from a business because of who they are. It’s about whether the Constitution gives businesses the right to discriminate whenever they want to.

Everyone in this country should be opposed to such a radical ruling that would undermine America’s core commitment to equality. That President Trump has endorsed a right to discriminate against LGBT people may not be surprising, given his earlier actions to strip transgender youth of protections in schools and to deprive lesbian, gay, and bisexual people of federal civil rights protections altogether. But it couldn’t be more un-American or shameful.

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Joy

The truth is Satan is deceiving you and many, many others.

If a person feels he or she has been born as the wrong gender, the answer is not gender-reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, cross-dressing, etc. Those are simply worldly ways of acquiescing to the devil’s lies. “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). And God does not make mistakes. The one who feels he or she was born in the wrong body needs, first and foremost, to experience the transformative power of Christ. When we “participate in the divine nature,” we escape “the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:4).

Falacious

to the other commenter: quoting the bible makes no sense if you're trying to convince someone of the truth of the bible, as if the bible is a contradictory misguided and often misquoted collection of myths, the argument has no validity. you cannot define X in terms of X

Anonymous

He isn't refusing to sell cakes to gays altogether. He's refusing to make a gay wedding cake. That's not even close to the same thing. I'm Celtic-pagan and I wouldn't consider it dicrimination for a Christian to not make me a cake with that theme because it would (probably) violate their religion. If someone truly believes they wil be damned to something like hell for all eternity if they do something its actually rather cruel to make them do it

Daria

"How did we get here?"

Hillary Clinton chose an orange faced monkey as a strawman because he should have been easy to beat, she rigged the game, got caught cheating, and the Evangelicals offered the monkey a "Devil's Deal" preaching "God's plan" and putting a zealot in as VP.

In destroying the purported 'integrity' of our elections, the DNC forfeited to a fascist fool who bows to Jesus in public while serving Mammon in his heart and advances a murderous agenda of hate for anybody not cis-gender heterosexual, wealthy and white.

Daria

"How did we get here?"

Hillary Clinton chose an orange faced monkey as a strawman because he should have been easy to beat, she rigged the game, got caught cheating, and the Evangelicals offered the monkey a "Devil's Deal" preaching "God's plan" and putting a zealot in as VP.

In destroying the purported 'integrity' of our elections, the DNC forfeited to a fascist fool who bows to Jesus in public while serving Mammon in his heart and advances a murderous agenda of hate for anybody not cis-gender heterosexual, wealthy and white.

Anonymous

Anyone with real courage stands up for defenseless and unpopular people when they are being bullied. Only cowards, bowing to peer pressure acting out of fear, bully their fellow Americans who might look or act differently than they do. It's also curious that many of these bullies claim to worship a religion based on standing up for the unpopular and least among us, against the bullies of their day.

ALX

The bullies are the ones who make unverifiable claims about their private behavior and demand public approval

Anonymous

Would "we serve liberals only" be legal? Perhaps "no Trump supporters allowed"?

Anonymous

Just make a national registry of businesses and who they don't want to serve. That way people will know where to buy goods and services. I work too hard for my money to just hand it over to stupid bigots.

Jenna

These are Nazis we are dealing with, not people. This administration is full of alt-right white party nationalist, another fancy term for N-A-Z-I. Only good Nazi is one that is pushing up flowers from 6ft under.

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