In it pulse between religious freedom and the rights of the LGTBQ community he United States Supreme Court He has just put his forceful and definitive weight against the second and in favor of the first, although it has been arguing freedom of expression. The six magistrates that make up the conservative supermajority of the High Court have issued this Friday a ruling in favor of a web designer who challenged a colorad state anti-discrimination lawwhy I didn’t want to make pages for same-sex weddings.
The designer, Lorie Smith, 38, is an evangelical Christian. Before even expanding his business to include wedding websites, he sued the Colorado law that prohibits discrimination against gay people by businesses that sell goods and services to the public and also vetoes statements announcing such discrimination.
Smith, who believes that white between persons of the same sex arefalse” because “the true story of the marriage of God” is that of a “union between A Man and a Woman”, he assured that the law violates his rights to free expression and the free exercise of religion. He argued that he sees his work as an artistic expression of his own beliefs, not just those of his employer, and that he was required by law to show support for gay marriage.
By accepting the case, after two lower courts denied Smith reason, the Supreme Court announced that it would only decide on freedom of expression and under that consideration it has handed down the sentence. At the same time, with his decision, the conservative majority has deepened its recent line of several opinions in favor of religious persons or groups, especially Christians.
“Coercion is not the answer”
“Colorado seeks force an individual to speak in ways that align with his (state’s) vision but challenge his (plaintiff’s) conscience on an issue of great significance,” wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch, who signed the majority opinion.
“Fulfilling the constitutional commitment to free speech means that we will all encounter ideas that we find ‘unsexy,’ ‘wrong, or even hurtful,’ but tolerance, not coercion, is the answer of our nation”, he has also written. “The First Amendment conceives of the United States as a rich and complex place where all people are free to think and speak as they want, not as the government demands”.
“Second Class” Citizens
They are arguments that reject the three progressive judges, who voted against. And in the dissenting opinion, signed by Sonia Sotomayor, it is read that “for the first time in its history the court grants a business open to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class”. The symbolic immediate effect of the decision is marking gays and lesbians for second-class status”, he has denounced.
Sotomayor has also called the sentence “deeply wrong” and has assured that the Colorado law “intends to regulate conduct, not expression.” “The act of discriminating has never constituted protected speech under the first amendment”, he recalled. “Our Constitution does not include the right to deny services to a disadvantaged group.”
The magistrate also framed the decision in the current situation in the US where one lives regressive wave that is attacking the rights of the LGBTQ community, with numerous red states pushing laws that curtail those rights. “Throughout the country there has been a reaction against the movement for freedom and equality of gender and sexual minoritiesis. New forms of inclusion have come up against reactionary exclusion. It’s heartbreaking,” wrote Sotomayor, who compared the situation with the response that was also given to the movements of women’s rights and civil rights when they sought equality in public life, when public establishments tried to stop these advances, sometimes also hiding behind religious beliefs.
Religion and social change
Despite the fact that the argument of the majority has been based on freedom of expression, the weight of the religious component is evident, and it has become clear in some reactions. The former Republican vice president and hopeful for the 2024 nomination, Mike Pence, For example, it has celebrated the ruling ensuring that the Religious freedom is “the foundation” of the Constitution US. “It reminds us that we must elect leaders who defend that right and appoint judges who support religious freedom,” she has assured. Like Smith, Pence is an evangelical Christian.
Smith’s position, in any case, goes against the sociological evolution of the US, where according to census data in 2021 there were 1.2 million households made up of same-sex couplesincluding almost a 60% married. In the Pew Center survey data about 60% of Americans support same-sex marriage, the same percentage that was opposed at the beginning of the century. And that acceptance has also increased even among religious groups. Between the white Christians born after 1964according to another 2017 Pew survey, a 50% support gay weddingsversus 25% of older white Christians.
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