Civil Rights Champions Call for a Decision for Equal Dignity under Law at the Supreme Court

“Open To All” Coalition’s Statement of Principle Released in Advance of Masterpiece Cakeshop Oral Arguments Next Week

November 29, 2017 3:45 pm

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WASHINGTON — More than 50 organizations joined in declaring their support today for equal dignity under the law for LGBT Americans. The statement of principle comes days before the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Signatories are comprised of national, state, and local civil rights champions as well as social justice advocates and religious organizations representing diverse communities. On its digital platform, the coalition called for the high court to affirm all Americans’ rights to live free from discrimination, and that public accommodations remain “Open To All.” Signing organizations called for a recommitment to the promises made in the wake of the civil rights movement of the 1960s that businesses open to the public may not turn anyone away because of who they are.

Standing in solidarity with Masterpiece plaintiffs Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins, the coalition also spoke to the widespread implications of a Supreme Court decision against the couple, saying, “It would say there is a constitutional right to discriminate — which could be used not only against LGBTQ people but also against people of color and religious minorities, unmarried couples, single mothers, young people, people with disabilities, and many, many others.”

Among the coalition members are the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Black Justice Coalition, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in addition to leading LGBT rights advocates GLAAD, Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National LGBTQ Task Force, among others.

“Our clients in the Masterpiece case have already felt the stinging harm of being turned away from a business simply because of who they are, a harm that no one should ever have to endure,” said James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT and HIV Project. “A ruling in this case to give businesses the right to refuse service to customers would shatter longstanding non-discrimination laws and have wide impacts on religious and racial minorities, single mothers, people with disabilities, and others. We are proud to stand with our allies as well as Charlie and Dave, our clients, in this campaign to encourage people to share their support for equality.”

“Nobody should be turned away or denied service just because of who they are,” said Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center. “Allowing businesses to pick and choose which laws to follow would have devastating consequences for transgender and gender non-conforming people of color, who already face intense discrimination in every aspect of life.”

The full list of statement signatories is below:

Advocates for Youth
Americans United for Separation for Church and State
Anti-Defamation League
Asian Americans Advancing Justice/AAJC
Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Believe Out Loud
Center for American Progress
Center for Black Equity
Center for Reproductive Rights
CenterLink: the Community of LGBT Centers
Constitutional Accountability Center
Council for Global Equality
Diverse and Resilient
Equality California
Equality Federation
Equality Florida
Equality Michigan
Equality North Carolina
Fairness West Virginia
Family Equality Council
Freedom for All Americans
Georgia Equality
GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders
HIV Medicine Association
Human Rights Campaign
Keep Our Birth Control Copay Free Campaign
Lambda Legal
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Los Angeles LGBT Center
Main Street Alliance
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Council of Jewish Women
National Health Law Program
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National LGBT Bar Association
National LGBTQ Task Force
National Minority AIDS Council
National Partnership for Women and Families
National Women’s Law Center
Outfront Minnesota
People for the American Way Foundation
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
SAGE: Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders
Southern Arizona Gender Alliance
The Trevor Project
Transgender Law Center
Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund
Union for Reform Judaism
Whitman-Walker Health

The full statement and more information on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission can be found at

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