On June 4th, the first Monday of the 2018 Pride season, the Supreme Court ruled on the side of the baker in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case. The decision was considered to be narrow, and not a universal authorization of discrimination. The ruling was more a signal of protection for freedom of religion, rather than anti-LGBTQ equality.
However, in the hyper-conservative milieu in which we are all swimming, the signal is loud and clear that those who oppose civil rights are more embolden to discriminate against all who identify as LGBTQ and gender non-binary. From the trans military ban to anti-LGBTQ legislation in 29 states, living while queer anywhere in the United States is no cake walk.
The Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling is a reminder of centuries of bigotry and hatred justified in the name of religion. The roots of racism, misogyny, poverty, and homophobia are entrenched beneath the cornerstone of fundamentalist theology. All around the world, wherever Christianity has been enforced, populations have been taught to hate the most marginalized and oppress the most at risk. That baker Jack Phillips would plead the victim of oppression in a socio-religious order that has long privileged the hegemony of Christianity and ignored the plight of those bullied, violated, and murdered in the name of faith is ironic, but not surprising.
The Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is preceded by another eerily similar case of another era. Shortly after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, segregationist Maurice Bessinger argued it “contravenes the will of God” by forcing businesses to serve black people. In the Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises, Inc case, the Supreme Court rejected the argument as “frivolous.”
We can only conclude that three years after the landmark ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing same-sex marriage, discrimination against those who chose to marriage someone of the same gender is also frivolous.
As we honor our lives by celebrating PRIDE throughout the month of June, may all who chose to marry or chose not to marry continue the fight by exposing the hate that we all experience as we go about our daily lives.
May we all, whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, genderqueer, or non-binary demand the dignity and humanity we innately deserve.
May we strive to order and eat cake wherever we find it to be affordable and accessible…and if we are not served….
May we raise hell!