Businesses Open to the Public Should be Open to All.

As a nation, we decided a long time ago that when a business opens its doors to the public, it should be open to everyone, on the same terms.

But a case now before the Supreme Court wants to take us back to the days when businesses could tell people, “We don’t serve your kind here.” Masterpiece Cakeshop is arguing that it should have a constitutional right to discriminate against customers simply because of who they are.

That’s why we all need to get involved. This case paves the way to eroding the federal Civil Rights Act and dismantling state and federal laws intended to protect people of color, women, religious minorities, people with disabilities, LGBT people and others from discrimination.

Join us.  Add your voice.  Help people understand why businesses open to the public should be Open to All.

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Amicus Briefs

Amicus briefs (or friend-of-the-court briefs) are legal documents filed with the court that provide important information about a particular case.

In the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, 45 amicus briefs were filed to defend our nation’s nondiscrimination laws by a wide array of civil rights leaders, LGBT and allied organizations, leading businesses, and more, including:

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The Facts

What is Open to All?

Open to All is a nationwide campaign to help protect our nation’s nondiscrimination laws. These laws ensure that when businesses open their doors to the public, they serve everyone on the same terms. But these laws are under attack. Those who don’t want to follow nondiscrimination laws are trying to claim that their religious beliefs mean federal and state nondiscrimination laws should not apply to them—and they are also asking the Supreme Court to create a right to discriminate in our nation’s Constitution.

What is Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission?

This case, which is being considered by the Supreme Court, involves a Colorado bakery that discriminated against and refused to serve a gay couple in violation of Colorado’s nondiscrimination law. The bakery claimed it should be exempt from the state’s nondiscrimination law due to the religious beliefs of the baker owner. The bakery lost the case when the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled that businesses that serve the public must serve everyone on the same terms. The bakery appealed and the Supreme Court announced earlier this year that it would hear the case in December.

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Why is this case important?

The Masterpiece case isn’t about cakes—rather it is an attempt to dismantle our nation’s nondiscrimination laws. The discrimination unleashed if the bakery wins this case would be staggering. The license to discriminate sought by the bakery could allow any kind of business that claims they use an element of creativity—for example, a restaurant, a hair salon, a school counselor, or a tailor—to tell anyone, not just same-sex couples, that “We don’t serve your kind here.”

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Who would be harmed if the Supreme Court rules in favor of discrimination?

A loss in the Masterpiece case would not only open the door to much wider ranging forms of discrimination, it would also expand the types of people who could face such discrimination. It could create a license to discriminate not just against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people—but also against people of color, interracial couples, women, minority faiths, people with disabilities, and others.

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Why wouldn’t people who are discriminated against just go somewhere else?

Imagine how you would feel if every time you walked into a restaurant, flower shop, hair salon, or bakery, you could be kicked out simply because the owner didn’t want to serve “people like you.” Do we really want to give businesses a right to tell customers, “We don’t serve your kind here”? The only way to protect countless Americans and their families from that kind of humiliation and abuse is to ensure that our nondiscrimination laws apply to all businesses that are open to the public.

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Why should our laws require businesses that serve the public to be open to all?

As a nation, we decided a long time ago that when a business opens its doors to the public, it should serve everyone on the same terms. Most businesses want to do the right thing, but there are some that will only do what’s right when the law requires it. We are all entitled to our beliefs. But that shouldn’t give businesses a license to discriminate. Nobody should be turned away from a business simply because of who they are.

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If the bakery is required to follow the nondiscrimation law, does it violate their religious freedom?

No. Freedom of religion is important, which is why it is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. The owner of the bakery is still free to believe what he believes and to worship where he wants to worship. However, religious freedom doesn’t give anyone the right to discriminate or to hurt others. This case is similar to cases like Piggy Park, where a BBQ chain argued it shouldn’t have to serve black customers because doing so violated their religious beliefs—and the court ruled against them.

If the bakery is required to follow the nondiscrimation law, does it violate their freedom of speech?

No. Nondiscrimination laws don’t prevent business owners from expressing their individual opinions and beliefs. And that is exactly what Jack Philips is doing by appearing in ads and going on national television. However, as a nation we decided free speech doesn’t give businesses the right to turn away certain customers in violation of nondiscrimination laws. The Constitution does not protect the right of a bakery to post a sign that says: “Wedding Cakes for Heterosexuals Only.”

If the bakery is required to sell a cake to gay couple, would a Jewish baker be required to sell a cake to a Nazi?

No. Nazis are not a protected class. But even if they were, businesses that sell goods to the public can decide WHAT to sell, they just can’t decide to refuse service because of WHO the customer is in violation of nondiscrimination laws. A bakery can decide not to sell Nazi cakes. Or not to sell wedding cakes. But if it does sell wedding cakes, it can’t turn customers away simply because of who they are.

What is Open to All?

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What is Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission?

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Why is this case important?

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Who would be harmed if the Supreme Court rules in favor of discrimination?

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Why wouldn’t people who are discriminated against just go somewhere else?

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Why should our laws require businesses that serve the public to be open to all?

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If the bakery is required to follow the nondiscrimination law, does it violate their religious freedom?

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If the bakery is required to follow the nondiscrimination law, does it violate their freedom of speech?

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If the bakery is required to sell a cake to gay couple, would a Jewish bakery be required to sell a cake to a Nazi?

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