Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser issued the following statement in response to today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis:
“In America, everyone should have equal access to goods and services, regardless of who they love, who they are, how they worship, or what they look like. Our longstanding civil rights laws promise these protections.
“But Christian Nationalists and their judicial allies are trying to drag this country back to the days when marginalized communities were forced to go door to door to find a business that didn’t display signs barring their presence like ‘No Jews, No Blacks, No Irish.’ Decades ago we as a society agreed that when a business decides to open its doors to the public, it must be open to all. This court negates these protections. Today, it allows religiously motivated discrimination against our LGBTQ family and friends; tomorrow, the license to discriminate could extend to other vulnerable communities too.
“This court continues to advance the agenda of religious extremists who are trying to force all of us to live by their narrow beliefs. When the court abolished the nationwide right to abortion last year, we warned LGBTQ rights were their next target. And here we are. Religious extremists and their political allies are willing to destroy our democracy to advance Christian Nationalism.
“We need a national recommitment to the separation of church and state if we’re to save our democracy and ensure freedom without favor and equality without exception under the law.”
Americans United had joined 29 religious and civil-rights organizations in filing an amicus brief in 303 Creative that explained how anti-discrimination laws like Colorado’s protect religious minorities as well as LGBTQ people and customers with other protected characteristics, such as race, sex, age and ability.
The group behind 303 Creative, the Alliance Defending Freedom, is an aggressive member of the billion-dollar shadow network that seeks to install Christian Nationalism and undermine church-state separation. Homophobia and anti-LGBTQ bigotry are baked into the ethos of ADF, which the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as a hate group. Alan Sears, who ran ADF for its first 25 years, co-authored a book entitled The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today. The title explains ADF’s goal: use “religious freedom” to oppose LGBTQ+ rights and equality. ADF also litigated the Masterpiece Cakeshop case in 2018, representing a bakery that refused to serve a gay couple and challenging the same civil rights law involved in 303 Creative.
Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom. Learn more at www.au.org.