LGBTQ Public Policy: Cakes and other Public Accommodations

The Masterpiece Cakeshop case is generating lots of discussion in LGBTQ and mainstream circles.  You can learn the basics at SCOTUSBlog.

Whatever this case is or isn't about, and whatever the decision, we need to be thinking about more than cakes in Tennessee.

When the President's spokesperson says that he would be fine with businesses hanging signs saying that they don't serve LGBTQ people, we are in dangerous territory.  We have entered a climate in which positive permission is given to discrimination.

Currently LGBTQ people are not covered in federal or Tennessee human rights laws.  Specifically, we are not covered in public accommodations laws or laws about the right to be served.  So Tennessee businesses can legally turn us away now.  And that puts us at the mercy of health care providers, mechanics, grocers, HVAC repair companies, and so on. 

So the outcome of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case will not directly affect Tennessee because we can already be discriminated against here.  However, a negative outcome could give more encouragement to companies that would like to discriminate openly against our community.  The case could create a more hostile climate for us.

That is all the more reason for us to encourage businesses in Tennessee to join Tennessee Open For Business free of charge at this link.  That is something concrete we can do to improve the climate for LGBTQ people in Tennessee for the long term.

Consider making a year-end tax deductible contribution to the TEP Foundation at this link.

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