Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) leaders spoke out against the Supreme Court 7-2 decision to support a Colorado cake-maker who claimed he did not have to follow Colorado anti-discrimination laws because of his religious beliefs.
“MCC emerged after the 1964 Civil Rights Act became the law of the land. It was African Americans who fought and died for the rights of so many, including sexual minorities,” said Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown, Interim Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches. “Today, we grieve that 50 years of striving for freedom by all marginalized groups was undermined by the highest court in the USA.”
“MCC was founded on the full equality of LGBTQI people in the eyes of God and the laws of all lands. We gained marriage equality in the USA, but this ruling means we must run a gauntlet of discrimination.” said Rev. Elder Brown, “MCC is appalled at the Supreme Court decision, not only for ourselves, but for racial minorities, women, and all marginalized populations here and around the world. As Christians, we know the Bible has long been used to not allow women in leadership and to discriminate against anyone who is not considered white. The Justices say this is a narrow decision that applies only to this case, but let us not fool ourselves. The opponents to equality will read this as an open door to use religion is an excuse for bigotry.”
Around 20 states and municipalities ban discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Now these rules are in limbo since the Supreme Court ruled that the Colorado lower court had not given “neutral and respectful consideration” to Phillips’ right to free religious exercise, according to the Wall Street Journal (https://on.wsj.com/2LYZLSV). The decision entitles him to ignore state civil rights laws.
NPR (https://n.pr/2JgKifx) reports that Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority decision that Colorado law “can protect gay persons in acquiring products and services on the same terms and conditions that are offered to other members of the public, [but] the law must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.”
“After 50 years of Supreme Court rulings that services offered to the public cannot be denied to anyone able to pay, even based on religious beliefs,” said Rev. Elder Brown. “Today’s ruling adds fuel to the fire of hate mentality rising up in this country and around the world. In the USA, people have always been free to lobby and persuade based on their religious beliefs, but they cannot force those beliefs on others or discriminate in the public sphere. But, of course, now they have a ruling that says they can.”