(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), along with law firm Covington & Burling and Professor Melissa Murray of Berkeley School of Law, filed an amicus brief on behalf of 40 women’s organizations in the Supreme Court case, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The Supreme Court will decide whether a business in Colorado may legally refuse to provide a wedding cake to a same-sex couple simply because the couple is gay. In this case, the company brings First Amendment claims based on speech and religion to say that it should not be required to provide a gay couple with any type of wedding cake. Colorado found that the First Amendment did not empower the owner to violate Colorado’s state law prohibition on sexual orientation discrimination and the matter is now pending with the U.S. Supreme Court.
The National Women’s Law Center has submitted an amicus brief arguing that to allow a business to disregard non-discrimination protections would also risk undermining the rights of women to be free from sex discrimination.
The following statement is from Emily Martin, General Counsel and Vice President for Workplace Justice of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC):
“States across the country have made it very clear: when a business is open to the public, it can’t simply turn people away because of their sexual orientation or sex or race. But Masterpiece Cakeshop is arguing for a license to discriminate in violation of this law, under the guise of religion and free speech. LGBTQ people and women, who have long faced discrimination in the name of religion, have a major stake in the outcome of this case. The Supreme Court must affirm longstanding precedent making clear that businesses have no right to opt out from complying with these critically important antidiscrimination protections.”
NWLC legal experts are available to discuss the broader implications of this case on LGBTQ and women’s rights.
The National Women’s Law Center is a non-profit organization that has been working since 1972 to advance and protect women’s equality and opportunity. The Center focuses on major policy areas of importance to women and their families including economic security, education, employment and health, with special attention given to the concerns of low-income women. For more information on the Center, visit: www.nwlc.org.