US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer dissented from the recent Court decision that a Christian web designer cannot be forced to create websites for gay marriages.
“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.”
But she is wrong. The decision grants no such right. No business can discriminate against a member of the public because that person is black, gay, Jewish, white, short, a communist, a Muslim, or a member of any other class or group. The Court’s decision does not alter that. Nor was that the basis of the plaintiff’s claim.
Lorie Smith specifically stated she was “willing to work with all people regardless of classifications such as race, creed, sexual orientation, and gender” and “will gladly create custom graphics and websites for clients of any sexual orientation.”
Lorie Smith did not object to the people. She was happy to work for them, and is happy to work for anyone. What she objected to was being forced to produce work that expressed views with which she disagrees deeply.
The majority decision of the Court made the same point. Refusing to serve people because they are in some class or belong to some group or hold some views you don’t like is not acceptable. Declining service because offering that service would mean you were forced to pretend you believe something you do not believe, or express views you find offensive, is a completely different thing. Forcing people to comply or to pretend to agree with what they do not believe is bullying.
It is as if a print shop owned by a gay couple were asked to print brochures claiming God hates fags. Or a black bakery being asked to make a cake that celebrated the KKK. Or a Muslim butcher being asked to make pork sausages for a party.
No one is entitled to refuse to serve people, or to refuse them admittance to a club or a country, because of their sexual preference, race or political views. Everyone is entitled to refuse to provide services which contradict their faith or values.