On June 30, 2023, the Supreme Court ruled that Colorado web designer Lorie Smith can refuse to serve LGBTQ+ couples seeking wedding websites. Previously, such a denial of services was viewed as discrimination against a protected class. Now, businesses offering "expressive" services can decline clients based on conscience.
As Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in her dissent, “Today, the Court, for the first time in its history, grants a business open to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class.”
While this decision does not universally allow LGBTQ+ discrimination, it creates an avenue for businesses, particularly artists, to decline work that conflicts with their beliefs. The ruling disrupts settled civil rights statutes, potentially allowing businesses to deem their services as “expressive” to justify discrimination.
Plus, this could impact not just the LGBTQ+ community, but also other protected classes,* including Jews. We cannot allow for more avenues of discrimination and hatred to grow.
Amid rising anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments, the Jewish community is called to action. Jewish values of radical inclusion, love, and justice offer a blueprint for response:
For ideas on how you can get engaged, explore our Community Mobilization page.