Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-10-17
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Attorney discusses Cakeshop case at WBAI event
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Liz Baudler

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Based on the transcript from the U.S. Supreme Court's Masterpiece Cakeshop deliberations earlier that day, Lambda Legal Senior Council and former National Marriage Project Director Camilla Taylor had a strong opinion.

"Today was not a very good day for LGBT rights," Taylor explained to a crowd at Charles Schwab at 430 N. Michigan Ave. Schwab and the Women's Bar Association of Illinois ( WBAI ) hosted Taylor's conversation with her colleague, Lambda Legal Regional Director Christopher Clark, on Dec. 5—the perfect chance to get Taylor's first reaction to the Masterpiece Cakeshop arguments.

Taylor's "glass half-empty" feeling seemed to based strongly on statements made by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the author of all the major favorable gay-rights decisions but also a notorious swing vote. According to Taylor, the Masterpiece Cakeshop case had brought up two issues—a First Amendment issue of compelled speech ( by making a cake for a gay couple, the baker was expressing acceptance of a relationship ) and the free exercise of religion.

At some points, Kennedy's line of question seemed to give credence to the free exercise of religion argument, which Taylor said has been "slapped down" many times before. While Kennedy has been known to bring up principles to lay groundwork for future objections, an audience member pointed out, Taylor countered that he has so far often been sympathetic to religious beliefs, as in his decision in the Hobby Lobby case.

Taylor was surprised Masterpiece Cakeshop had even gotten to the court, considering all of the lower court decisions had been congruent with each other on the issue and in favor of the gay couple. "Usually the Supreme Court weighs in when there's a brewing controversy," Taylor said.

Representing the baker was a group called Alliance Defending Freedom, which Taylor claimed had a budget three times the size of Lambda Legal. Taylor described their efforts as "chipping away" at the rights that the marriage case Obergefell v. Hodges granted.

"I think it is a cynical abuse of this moment," Taylor said, when asked exactly why the case might have gotten heard, remarking on the changing cultural climate created in part by marriage equality.

The audience was ready for Taylor to explain the details of what she'd heard in the proceedings. When someone asked about whether the baker had objected in particular to writing a message on the cake, Taylor explained that the couple and the baker never even got to that point. The issue involved was the definition of artistry, and what kind of artistry would constitute protected speech. Based on that metric, some of the justices pointed out that certain kinds of service providers, makeup artists and architects would not be as protected, Taylor said.

"It will carve a hole into the nondiscrimination clauses that will cause ligition for perhaps decades," she remarked.

An audience member asked about new Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch's participation in the Masterpiece arguments. "He doesn't even acknowledge Obergefell," Taylor remarked, based on an earlier ruling about same-sex parents in Arkansas earlier this year to which Gorsuch penned a stinging dissent. Yet overall, Taylor seemed to have an optimistic long view of the situation, partly because prior litigation about discrimination and race created a compelling argument to apply that standard to LGBTQ rights.

For their part, Lambda Legal filed a brief filled with the voices of those who had suffered anti-LGBT discrimination, including a case in Illinois of a taxi driver kicking out a gay couple on the shoulder of the expressway, Taylor said, and pointed out that Justice Sotomayor in particular was very interested in those stories.

"We are going to win this eventually, it's just a matter of what kind of setback we'll be dealt in the next year," Taylor said.

Taylor also discussed other ligation that Lambda Legal is working on, including a case she hopes to have the Supreme Court hear involving employment discrimination. The 7th Circuit has ruled that Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, while the 11th Circuit disagrees. Even federal agencies have opposing interpretations of Title VII, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision backing the 7th Circuit decision while the Justice Department disagrees.

"There's clearly a mess that the Supreme Court has to clean up," Taylor said.

When asked about the parallels to other civil-rights movements, Taylor spoke of the importance of both taking inspiration from and supporting other causes. "There are all sorts of different fights that if they lose, we lose," Taylor said.

And she remembered a marriage equality opponent a few years ago saying it was "time to end the culture wars" and wanting some sort of social compromise as people had to adjust to the new reality of same-sex marriage. Taylor very much disagreed.

"The culture wars are over—we're winning them," Taylor said. "We don't have to compromise."

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

IDOC sued on behalf of Black & Pink for censoring free speech of LGBTQ prisoners 2018-10-18 - Chicago, IL ( October 18, 2018 ) — Today, attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Chicago chapter of Black & Pink, ...

Gay News

Legislation Would Expand Care for LGBT Elders, People With HIV 2018-10-18 - [New York, NY] — Yesterday, D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced first-of-its-kind legislation to better protect and support LGBT elders and older people living ...

Gay News

Jury awards Wis. trans women $780K 2018-10-17 - In Madison, Wisconsin, a jury awarded $780,000 to two transgender state employees who were denied insurance coverage of transition surgeries, The Milwaukee Journal ...

Gay News

PFLAG conference Nov. 10 in suburb 2018-10-17 - The PFLAG Council of Northern Illinois is hosting a day-long PFLAG Conference on Saturday, Nov. 10, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., at Southminster Presbyterian Church, ...

Gay News

Attorney General Lisa Madigan opposes HUD's suspension of fair housing rule 2018-10-17 - Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan, along with 16 other attorneys general, today urged the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ( ...

Gay News

Gay juror recounts Van Dyke trial experience 2018-10-17 - Early in September, Chicagoan Will Harpest was reading a New York Times article about Mayor Rahm Emanuels' decision not to run for re-election. ...

Gay News

First out gay male Chicago police officer on family, career, volunteering 2018-10-17 - Retired Chicago Police Department ( CPD ) officer Ronald Bogan saw it all during his three decades on the force. This includes a ...

Gay News

Legal Council for Health Justice marks three decades with gala 2018-10-16 - Legal Council for Health Justice ( LCHJ ) celebrated 30 years with a gala at Venue West on Oct. 13. Formerly named the ...

Gay News

WORLD Another bakery case, Austrian marriage, Mapplethorpe situation 2018-10-16 - Britain's highest court ruled that a Northern Irish bakery's refusal to make a cake bearing a pro-gay slogan was not discriminatory in a ...

Gay News

Smithsonian Receives Matthew Shepard Collection 2018-10-16 - The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History will receive a donation of papers and personal objects from Judy and Dennis Shepard, the parents ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.