The New York City Anti-Violence Project issues the following statement concerning recent Supreme Court decisions rolling back progress on equal rights and accommodations.
In the past two days, the United States Supreme Court has taken dangerous steps toward the recent trend of institutions re-enshrining discrimination into law and away from acknowledging and addressing the impact discrimination has on the rights, protections, and safety of all people who call our country home. AVP stands staunchly against these decisions and believes SCOTUS has opened the door to more discrimination and violence against LGBTQ+ and people of color at a time when hate violence of all forms is on the rise.
Today, the Court issued a ruling in favor of a Colorado businesswoman who wishes to provide a public business while intentionally discriminating against LGBTQ+ people. Though the decision may not widely subvert anti-discrimination law and only applies to specific creative work, SCOTUS has effectively issued a license to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community under the guise of protecting free speech.
Justice Sotomayor wrote in her dissent: “Today is a sad day in American constitutional law and in the lives of LGBT people. The United States Supreme Court declares that a particular kind of business, though open to the public, has a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class. The Court does so for the first time in its history,”
We know from our first-ever LGBTQ+ Safe Spaces National Needs Assessment that LGBTQ+ organizations, businesses, and community members face overwhelming and increasing rates of hate and need a government that will ensure that all communities are protected from discrimination, not condone it. Data from the Needs Assessment shows that anti-LGBTQ threats and violence against our spaces and businesses are common and relentless, with more than three out of five of the 380 organizations and businesses surveyed having reported hate violence incidents in 2022. This violence has been growing out of a climate in which discrimination and hate are being pushed into the mainstream, not pushed back into the darkness where it belongs.
Yesterday, the Court also determined that considering race in the decision-making of universities, a longtime standard to help make our educational system more diverse, is unconstitutional. That decision will effectively reduce educational access to non-white people, with Black scholars primed to endure most of the fallout.
This iteration of the court, packed by conservative ideologies seems determined to reverse all the hard-fought gains toward making the United States a more equal nation. People nationwide are still struggling to get access to abortion care after this Court reversed Roe v. Wade, endangering the lives of millions of birthing people.
LGBTQ+ people and people of color, just like anyone, deserve to be served in public accommodations fairly and without the threat of discrimination and deserve to have fair access to higher education. The conservative majority of this Court is out of step with modern values and is actively working to send this country backward and make those in this country who are already marginalized targets of more hate and violence. We encourage all justice-minded people in this country to continue to stand up against hate and bigotry and for diversity, inclusion, and safety.