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Boston, Mass. (June 30, 2023) – The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is condemning the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 303 Creative LLC vs. Elenis case that will erode the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community in this country.
“Unitarian Universalists believe the full expression of the diversity of gender and sexuality is a gift. Our LGBTQIA+ siblings are sacred, whole, and divine as they are,” said the Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray, the UUA’s outgoing president. “The Supreme Court’s decision today will harm LGBTQIA+ families and communities. As UUs, we are committed to supporting them as we see forces working to diminish their rights.”
303 Creative LLC vs. Elenis, which was argued in front of the Supreme Court in December 2022, focused on the efforts of a website designer in Colorado to obtain a “free speech exemption” to anti-discrimination laws in that state. According to GLAD, advocates “warned that granting the unprecedented ‘free speech exemption’ sought by petitioners in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis would inevitably lead to increased discrimination based on the religious or other beliefs of the service provider, not only related to LGBTQ+ people or weddings, but across the population.” As such, the Supreme Court’s ruling will impact the LGBTQIA+ community by allowing discrimination against them based on a claim of “free speech.”
Unitarian Universalists have a long history of supporting the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. In 1970, the UUA passed a General Resolution opposing discrimination against members of the community one year after the Stonewall Uprising. In 1996, the UUA’s General Assembly passed a Resolution of Immediate Witness supporting marriage equality. And in November 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in the Goodridge vs. Massachusetts Department of Public Health in favor of the lead plaintiff, Hillary Goodridge – a program director at the UUA - making Massachusetts the first state to allow for LGBTQIA+ marriage equality. Additionally, UUs have spoken out against efforts to exclude trans and LGBTQIA+ people from public accommodation rights. In 2018, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which sided with a baker who denied service to a gay couple, the UUA’s Uplift blog asserted that “ruling was a reminder of centuries of bigotry and hatred justified in the name of religion.”
In recent months, UUs have focused on protecting members of the trans and nonbinary+ community. In March, the UUA responded to growing legislative attacks against trans and nonbinary+ youth and the LGBTQIA+ community, which acknowledged that “trans and nonbinary+ people are living in an environment where legislators and policy makers are criminalizing their very existence.” Additionally, the UUA has spoken out against efforts to use anti-democratic tactics and authoritarian policies to intimidate trans and nonbinary+ legislators and their allies.
“We hear every day from members of the LGBTQIA+ community and from Unitarian Universalists who want to protect LGBTQIA+ rights in this country,” said Rev. Michael Crumpler, the UUA’s LGBTQ and Multicultural Programs Director. “UUs are committed to working with LGBTQIA+ people and organizations to ensure that they receive the services they wish. As a faith community, we affirm that LGBTQIA+ people should be able to celebrate their relationships.”
About the UUA
The UUA is the central organization for the Unitarian Universalist (UU) religious movement in the United States. Our faith is diverse and inclusive and the UUA’s 1000+ member congregations are committed to principles and values that hold closely the worth and dignity of each person as sacred, the need for justice and compassion, the right of conscience, and respect for the interdependent nature of all existence.