City joins jurisdictions from across nation on U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief
On Monday, October 16, the Shoreline City Council authorized Mayor Roberts and the City to join more than 80 other mayors and 70 jurisdictions from across the nation in a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief to support the rights of LGBTQ people to be free from discrimination. The amicus brief responds to the case Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commissionwhere a Colorado baker refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple based on his religious beliefs.
“Discrimination has no place in our community,” stated Mayor Roberts. “While we support the right of individuals to practice their faith, it does not give them license to discriminate in their business practices. Everyone should have the right to engage in their community without threat of being discriminated against because of who they are.”
The Masterpiece case concerns a Denver area baker who refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple celebrating their civil marriage. The action was in direct violation of Colorado’s nondiscrimination law. Both the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and the state appellate court ruled in favor of the couple.
The case is vital to ensuring members of the LGBTQ community are protected from discrimination. The brief reads:
“Local non-discrimination protections embody our commitment to pluralism and tolerance in the public sphere, helping to ensure that members of our communities are able to live and work together despite differences in how they look, what they believe, or whom they love. The cohesiveness and inclusiveness of our communities depend on our ability to insist that everyone…treat one another equally and with respect in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other areas of public life.”
The brief argues that local laws are necessary to address significant harms against LGBTQ residents. Furthermore, recognizing an “exemption” from nondiscrimination laws based on speech or religious grounds would cause harm against LGBTQ people and the cities they live in.
The County of Santa Clara and the cities of Los Angeles and New York filed the brief on behalf of the 150 plus mayors and jurisdictions who signed it. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case on December 5, 2017.