Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination Ruling: Dystopia Now a Harsh Reality

All those movies and TV series depicting a dystopian world/society where extreme, skewed, self-serving societal views or positions based on dubious morals, beliefs, and rules are laid bare in all their horrifying ways ultimately reflect what authors, screenwriters, and directors see in society. Those scripts are relatable because they are frighteningly close to reality. The only difference is that we click off our remotes, hit our space bars, or close our browsers once we are done watching, and they are no longer there. Out of sight, out of mind. Something to talk about next time at lunch break or mull over a drink, mumbling, “Did you watch that? Can you believe it?” Today those dystopian scenarios are far less fictional places – one could say they never entirely were. “It’s going to be all right, no worries,” said the people who were not affected.

“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. […] By issuing this new license to discriminate in a case brought by a company that seeks to deny same-sex couples the full and equal enjoyment of its services, the immediate, symbolic effect of the decision is to mark gays and lesbians for second-class status. In this way, the decision itself inflicts stigmatic harm on top of any harm caused by denials of service. […] A sad day in American constitutional law and the lives of LGBT people.” Those were some words Justice Sonia Sotomayor used in her dissent opinion on the Supreme Court of the United States ruling in favor of 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis.

Yunuen Trujillo, a journalist for the National Catholic Reporter, wrote after the ruling, “While 303 Creative v. Elenis might only create a limited exemption to nondiscrimination laws, this opens the door to a series of future lawsuits that will continue to exclude, marginalize and systemically oppress LGBTQ people — the most vulnerable in this case.” She also clearly and intelligently opined, “There were three potential outcomes in this case. Firstly, the court could have ruled that businesses open to the public must comply with nondiscrimination laws and that the freedom of speech in one’s private life differs from the right to discriminate as a business. Secondly, the court could have determined that no actual harm has occurred since the business owner is not yet offering her services, deeming the case as brought too soon. Lastly, the court could have concluded that certain businesses, particularly those offering creative services categorized as speech, can discriminate in really limited circumstances. The court chose the last option.”

I am shaking my head in disbelief. I should clarify – not because the ruling is startling, not because of the running, posturing, and hollow political commentary, not because of all plain continuous reasons based on witlessness. I am horrified that the federal judiciary’s highest court used the First Amendment to override anti-discrimination laws for protected classes based on a lawsuit filed upon falsehood of facts and, to make matters even more problematic, a hypothetical pre-emptive situation. It boggles my mind that a legislative ruling had to be made on something that is commonly done – though rarely said or spoken of or about (and herein lies the absolute hypocrisy), every single day: a lawyer who does not take a case, a tailor who does not make a dress, a waiter who will not serve a customer. Do these people comment out loud, “I am not doing that because that person is *insert minority of choice,* and *I don’t like them* (being polite here)?” Of course not. That would be discrimination or – wait, no! Freedom of Speech! Which interestingly includes the so-called negative right not to speak. (Under the First Amendment, “The right of freedom of thought and of religion as guaranteed by the Constitution against State action includes both the right to speak freely and the right to refrain from speaking at all.” Barnette 319 US, 1943 – that is 80 years ago)

The individual that brought the lawsuit brought her “case” to court on 1. a request that was never made, 2. defined the customer as an LGBTQ person when he is not, and 3. She filed a supplement to her original suit “just in case” to argue why she would refuse to use words to describe an LGBTQ wedding website she would not design because contrary to her beliefs. Other than that, she has no prejudice against LGBTQ individuals. Read that again. She self-described as a discriminant while pretending not to be, and the Supreme Court just gave her a pat on the back and said, “Sure, in that case.” Feel free to research the case and form your own opinion.

As a good friend commented on the ruling, “So… an organization can deny services based on someone being from a protected class, but they cannot guarantee services based on the same classification? Discrimination is federally sanctioned, you all. Plain and simple. They aren’t even hiding it anymore.” I could not agree more. Dystopia is a harsh reality now, and fostering the notion that a “protected class” is just a make-believe “elegant” way to hide the consideration of that class as “Untermenschen.”