Howard Brown Health Denounces Supreme Court’s Discriminatory “Free Speech” Ruling
(Chicago, IL, May 19, 2023) – This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that a Christian graphic artist can legally refuse to work with same-sex couples. The Supreme Court argued that nondiscrimination laws violated the plaintiff’s First Amendment freedom of speech rights by compelling her to create wedding websites for same-sex couples, even though this situation had never actually occurred. This decision is a radical and reckless ruling that invites a return to a time when businesses regularly turned people away based solely on their identities. Enabling this discrimination will not only limit the ability of LGBTQ+ people to receive goods and services: it will also harm the health and wellbeing of our community at large.
More than 50 years ago, our nation decided that when a business decides to open its doors to the public, that business should be open to all—a core principle that is at the heart of how we treat one another. This principle is more than just an ideal. An overwhelming majority of Americans – 80% – support nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people, and a strong majority – 65% – reject allowing businesses to use religion as a basis for denying service.
This ruling opens the door to more discrimination, more polarization, and more people struggling to get the goods and services they need to live their lives. Our nondiscrimination laws exist to ensure that no one is turned away because of who they are. Especially at a time when over 525 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced across the country restricting access to basic services and curtailing our rights, this dangerous decision is a call to action for everyone who cares about upholding shared principles of equity in our nation.
We call on all fair-minded business owners and people to condemn discrimination and support equality for all. LGBTQ+ people are family members, co-workers, business owners, classmates, and customers in every community. Howard Brown will continue working side by side with local and federal government partners, elected officials, LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations, and community members to fight this ruling and ensure freedom and inclusion for everyone.
Rooted in LGBTQ+ liberation, Howard Brown Health provides affirming healthcare and mobilizes for social justice as an agent of change for individual wellbeing and community empowerment. Howard Brown envisions a future where healthcare and transformative social policies actualize human rights and equity for all. Howard Brown offers primary care, behavioral health, and social services at 11 clinics across the city, regardless of ability to pay.
Wren O’Kelley, Associate Director of Communications and Marketing