Narrow Supreme Court Wedding Cake Ruling Upholds Nondiscrimination Principles

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled issued its decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, ruling 7-2 in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

As an organization committed to building an inclusive and equal business environment that empowers all communities to prosper and thrive, we are discouraged by a decision that allows any person to be refused service based on whom he or she loves. The unspoken message to LGBT consumers: If you are open and honest about who you are, you may be confronted and turned away. The decision is a small but disheartening step backward on our path to full equality for all.

But, while the Court’s decision is deeply disappointing, its ruling is specific to this case only, based on a concern that members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission may have evidenced an anti-religion bias. The Supreme Court upheld the principle that a public business must serve all members of the public, without discrimination. As Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said, ‘The court reversed the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision based on concerns unique to the case but reaffirmed its longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people.’

We know other opponents of LGBT equality already are lined up to test that principle before the Supreme Court, and this case is no doubt the first of many to come. In California, the Unruh Civil Rights Act prohibits public businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation, as well as race, gender or religion. But earlier this year, the Kern County Superior Court ruled in favor of a Bakersfield bakery owner who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. In the Bakersfield case, the judge said the baker’s First Amendment rights to free speech superseded the state law against discrimination, but only because the baker was being asked to create a product that violated her beliefs. In clarifying his decision, Judge David Lampe wrote:

A retail tire shop may not refuse to sell a tire because the owner does not want to sell tires to same sex couples. There is nothing sacred or expressive about a tire. No artist, having placed their work for public sale, may refuse to sell for an unlawful discriminatory purpose. No baker may place their wares in a public display case, open their shop, and then refuse to sell because of race, religion, gender, or gender identification.

While we expect to see lots more cases challenging the equal rights of LGBT people, we continue to believe, to paraphrase the late Dr. Martin Luther King, that the ‘arc of the moral universe’ still ‘bends toward justice.’ We know others will use this recent Supreme Court decision to attempt to justify different forms of discrimination against LGBT people, at other kinds businesses and public venues, but we also know that equality is good for business and good for communities. The collective spending power of LGBT people worldwide is estimated at $3.7 trillion, approximately $900 billion within the U.S. alone. Communities and economies thrive when all individuals and families are protected equally under the law, and the Chamber remains committed to working toward a future in which fairness and equality prevail.

What can you do?

  • VOTE! Today (June 5, 2018) is Election Day, and your vote is critically important to the future of our region, state and country! Please vote or drop off your ballot today. Check here for information about voting and ballot drop-off locations: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/polling-place/

 

  • Report discrimination. If you or someone you know has experienced discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or other factors, the California Attorney General’s office offers a list of resources and responding agencies.

 

  • Participate with RainbowPAC. Rainbow Chamber’s non-partisan political action committee endorses candidates and supports public policy measures that mirror our business-positive values of diversity, inclusion and equality. Visit here for a list of local candidates endorsed by RainbowPAC in 2018.

 

  • Participate in Sacramento Pride! Presented by the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, Sacramento Pride events are scheduled all weekend, beginning with the annual Pride Awards Friday, June 8, honoring Rainbow Chamber Past President Richard Hernandez. Learn more about the history and achievements of the LGBT civil rights movement and next steps at Pride Activated on Saturday, June 9, at Mango’s in Midtown. Then join Rainbow Chamber at the Sacramento Pride Parade/March and Festival on Sunday, June 10, at Capitol Mall.

We are grateful for all the work our member businesses, professionals and allies do every day to make our region and business community better. Thank you!

 

RainbowPAC Endorses 15 Candidates in 2018 Local Races

RainbowPAC, the non-partisan political action committee of the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, endorsed 15 candidates in 2018 state and local races at an endorsement event March 7 at Sierra 2 Center. Candidates in 14 races, or their representatives, spoke to the gathering. Following candidate presentations and audience discussion, Rainbow Chamber members in attendance voted on endorsement, with a 60 percent majority required for endorsement.

U.S. Congress, 4th Congressional District: Jessica Morse

California Attorney General: Dave Jones

California State Assembly, District 6: Jackie Smith

Sacramento County Supervisor, District 2: Patrick Kennedy

Sacramento County Board of Education:
Bina Lefkovitz (Area 1)

Nate Pelczar (Area 2)

Nevada County Sheriff: Shannan Moon

Elk Grove Mayor: Steve Ly

SMUD Board, Ward 4: Rosanna Herber

Sacramento City Council, District 1: Angelique Ashby

Sacramento City Council, District 5: Jay Schenirer

Davis City Council, At Large:
Gloria Partida

Mark P.E. West

San Juan School Board, At Large: Zima Creason

Twin Rivers School Board, Area 3: Rebecca Vella Sandoval

In the Sacramento County District Attorney race, neither Anne Marie Schubert nor Noah Phillips received the required 60 percent vote for endorsement.

Visit RainbowPAC on Facebook to see more event photos

Announcing 2018 Boas & Bow Ties

Join area business and community leaders for Sacramento Rainbow Chamber’s Boas & Bow Ties Annual Gala.

  • Featuring 2018 Business Leader of the Year Award
  • Honoring 2018-19 Rainbow Chamber Foundation Scholars
  • Installation of 2018-19 Rainbow Chamber Board
  • ​Fabulous Live & Silent Auctions Benefiting Scholarships for LGBTQ & Allied Students

Call for Sponsors!

Download our 2018 Event Sponsorship flyer

SIGN UP NOW!

Sacramento Rainbow Chamber Statement on Las Vegas Shooting

Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce President Joy Reinhardt has released the following statement on behalf of the Chamber Board of Directors regarding tragic shooting in Las Vegas on October 1.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the victims of yesterday’s violence and their loved ones, to the people of Las Vegas, and to our sister organization, the Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce of Nevada,” Reinhardt said. “Many of us in the West have gotten to know Las Vegas as a vacation getaway and as a wonderful host for professional conferences and events, including the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Annual Business & Leadership Conference, held in Las Vegas many times. It is so easy to imagine ourselves in the place of those concert-goers and the hundreds of business owners, casino workers and first responders whose lives have been changed forever.

“In the presence of such inexplicable violence, it is easy to feel powerless to do anything about it. But we know change often begins at the local level. The Chamber board and I remain committed to working with business owners, law enforcement, community-based organizations and residents to help make sure our local and regional workplaces and entertainment venues are safe and violence-free for all Sacramentans.”