ADVISORY: Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission: A New License to Discriminate?

Washington, D.C. — As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in the most important civil rights case of the term, please join us at the Center for American Progress for a panel discussion on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission and how the court’s ruling could have implications well beyond the LGBTQ community.

The dispute involves a Colorado baker who refuses to make cakes for the weddings of same-sex couples. Colorado law prohibits businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation, and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission has sued the shop. The shop’s owner argues that he has the constitutional right to discriminate based on his religious beliefs and free speech rights.

Arguments that the Constitution protects the right to discriminate are not new; this case is reminiscent of the same type of discrimination against which civil rights leaders have fought for decades. Every day, discrimination against LGBTQ people takes place all across the country. Fortunately, more than 20 states have laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. In states with these protections, LGBTQ people have won lawsuits rejecting the notion that the rights to free speech and religion trump state laws duly enacted to protect our friends, colleagues, and neighbors from discrimination. Panelists will discuss how the Supreme Court’s ruling could upset that balance and why the civil rights community is out in force to protect against what could be a significant erosion of rights.

Press can RSVP here.

WHO:

Welcoming remarks:
Laura Durso, Vice President of the LGBT Research and Communications Project, Center for American Progress
Michele Jawando, Vice President of Legal Progress, Center for American Progress

Distinguished panelists:
Elise Boddie, Professor of Law, Henry Rutgers University Professor, and Robert L. Carter Scholar, Rutgers University
Rebecca Cokley, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
Louise Melling, Deputy Legal Director and Director of Center for Liberty, American Civil Liberties Union
Dariely Rodriguez, Director of the Economic Justice Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Moderator:
Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President of External Affairs, Center for American Progress

WHEN:

Thursday, November 16, 2017
12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. EST

WHERE:

Center for American Progress
1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20005

For more information, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org or 202.478.6327.