Chapel Hill Joins Amicus Brief on Anti-Discrimination Case

LGBT equality and equal treatment builds a stronger community for everyone

Post Date:11/02/2017 1:50 PM

Mayor Pam Hemminger, with support of the Chapel Hill Town Council, joined more than 150 mayors from across the country on Monday, Oct. 30, in support of an amicus brief filed by Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Masterpiece Cakeshop is a pending case before the U.S. Supreme Court. It considers the constitutionality of enforcing anti-discrimination laws when business owners have asserted a religious justification for refusing to provide services to LGBTQ people in violation of those laws.

“Our support upholds the basic values of our community – that Chapel Hill is a Place for Everyone – and that our citizens are not discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation or for any other reason,” Mayor Hemminger said. “The outcome of this case will have a significant impact on every city and county across our country.”

The case arises from a finding of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which was affirmed by the Colorado Court of Appeals, that a bakery in Colorado violated the state’s non-discrimination law when it refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. The bakery contended that it should be exempt from enforcement of the law based on religion or free speech grounds, based on its owners’ asserted religious opposition to same-sex marriage.

The brief supports the decision made by the Colorado Civil Rights commission, saying that public interest is better served when discrimination against protected classes is prevented. There is longstanding legal precedent that businesses cannot discriminate in public services or accommodations on the basis of protected class status regardless of any religious beliefs of the owners. The plaintiff in this case seeks to upend this precedent.

The Supreme Court justices are scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case on Dec. 5, 2017.

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