Family Equality Condemns Supreme Court’s Decision in 303 Creative Case

We join movement partners, the LGBTQ+ community, and our allies in condemning the Supreme Court’s decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis. The Court ruled for 303 Creative in a highly fact-specific decision authorizing a narrow exception to state nondiscrimination laws for a website developer whose work it found involves vetting clients to convey the designer’s message with original and customized text and artwork for each client.  

“While the Supreme Court’s ruling doesn’t provide an open door to discriminate, it’s incredibly disappointing and is yet another blow to LGBTQ+ equality,” said Stacey Stevenson, CEO for Family Equality. “We need all businesses to strongly support inclusive nondiscrimination laws to ensure that no one is turned away because of who they are or who they love. Businesses open to the public should be open to all. It’s an American value. And the overwhelming majority of Americans – 80% – support nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people and 65%  reject allowing businesses to use religion as a basis for denying service. Today’s decision does not change that.”

For the first time, the Court created a limited First Amendment speech exception to laws requiring businesses open to the public to offer the goods and services they sell without discrimination. But the specific activity at issue  suggests the ruling has no application to the overwhelming majority of businesses.

Read the court’s opinion and dissent here.

Quoting its prior decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop (2018), the Court reinforced that States may “protect gay persons, just as they protect other classifications of people, in acquiring whatever products and services they choose on the same terms and conditions as they are offered to other members of the public.”   

Our nondiscrimination laws exist to ensure that no one is turned away because of who they are.  And, while some elected officials are trying to pass laws targeting LGBTQ+ people for mistreatment and discrimination, we know the vast majority of Americans, including business owners, strive to treat everyone with dignity and respect.  Exclusion and segregation hurt us all and we all must step up and do our part to ensure this ruling is not used to open the door to further discrimination in the marketplace. 

“Together we must all work together to ensure freedom and inclusion for everyone. Discrimination is bad for business,” said Stevenson. “And support for the LGBTQ+ community is at an all-time high. We’re counting on businesses to do the morally right thing regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling.”

“Business leaders should ask themselves, ‘which side of history will I be on?’”