What a month June was! From marching in Washington, D.C.'s pride parade, to deciphering the Supreme Court's odd decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop to speaking out against the Court's abhorrent ruling in the Muslim ban case, the entire staff has been incredibly hard at work.
There is so much to say about each of these moments, but perhaps most interesting is what they have in common. At heart, they all connect to today's emboldened movement to use religion to stop America's steady progress toward its most inclusive self. And they all relate to that same movement's desire to assert the dominance of far-right evangelical Christians.
Americans United joined the Capital Pride festivities because we wanted to make clear that religion should never be used to discriminate against or cause harm to our LGBTQ family, supporters and neighbors. Our banner and T-shirts read: "Keep your dogma off my rights!" And the crowd's whoops and cheers as we marched by made clear that they strongly agreed. No one needs to explain to any member of the LGBTQ community that "religious freedom" is being politicized to privilege one religious group's particular viewpoint and deny them full equality.
The Masterpiece Cakeshop case is an outgrowth of the legal arm of this same movement. Brought by a Religious Right legal group, Masterpiece was an attempt to get our highest court to assert that free exercise of one's religion means a business can refuse to serve people based on their sexual orientation--even if a state non-discrimination law is in place.
Even though the court technically ruled in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop (on the grounds that there was animus towards the baker's religion during his hearing before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission), the decision also affirmed: "[l]t is a general rule that [religious and philosophical] objections do not allow business owners and other actors in the economy and in society to deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law."
Although this case represents a strange sort of "win" for inclusion, it is also just one of a slew of such legal challenges the Religious Right continues to bring arguing for a business's right to use religion to discriminate.