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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Illinois groups respond to Masterpiece Cake SCOTUS decision
Video below
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2018-06-04

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ACLU of Illinois, Lambda Legal-Midwest Regional Office, Equality Illinois ( EI ), AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ), Indivisible Chicago, Women's March Illinois and the Transformative Justice Law Project held a rally June 4 at Federal Plaza following the U.S. Supreme Court's 7-2 narrow ruling in favor of the Christian bakers in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case.

The overriding message from these organizations was that LGBTQ protections remain in effect in Chicago and Illinois despite this ruling.

"We are here today as a community in response to the Supreme Court's decision this morning," said ACLU of Illinois Director of Communications and Public Policy Ed Yohnka. "This case was always about more than just cake. It is about who we are as a people. It is about whether or not we are going to discriminate or whether or not we are going to be fair, equitable and open for all. I think we should be open for all."

Yohnka said the LGBTQ community "has fought hard and won protections against discrimination" and "we are not going back from all of that."

Lambda Legal-Midwest Legal Assistant Elissa Jeffers explained that this ruling does not change the law and that Illinois' LGBTQ non-discrimination law is one of the strongest in the country. Jeffers noted that Lambda Legal will continue to fight anti-discrimination cases nationwide in the coming months and years.

EI Director of Civic Engagement Anthony Galloway said "we are heartened by today's Supreme Court decision." He noted that the opponents of equality will not stop their efforts to hasten and/or roll back protections for LGBTQ people. Galloway explained that although LGBTQ discrimination still exists there is no turning back from the progress that has already been made. He urged Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, as well as all businesses across the state, to publicly support Illinois Human Rights Act in the wake of this Supreme Court decision.

AFC CEO and President John Peller said everyone must remain vigilant because anti-LGBTQ people may use this decision to discriminate in other areas, including against people with HIV.

Chicago Commission on Human Relations Commissioner Mona Noriega asked the crowd if they were mad and said her office will enforce the laws protecting LGBTQ people everywhere in the city. She explained that if anyone is discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or any of the other protected classes she wants to hear from them.

Following the rally, Noriega handed out an explainer on Chicago's Human Rights and Fair Housing ordinances regarding LGBTQ people and discrimination protections in employment, public accommodations, housing, credit and bonding.

Statement from Chicago's LGBT Caucus on Supreme Court ruling:

"Today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission) is one that the members of LGBTQ caucus in the Chicago City Council find deeply troubling. While it stops short of officially sanctioning discrimination against the LGBTQ community, we fear the court has handed those who seek to spread intolerance and homophobia a symbolic victory in their efforts to ignore the equal protections afforded to LGBTQ Americans under the U.S. Constitution and deny access to services in the marketplace under the guise of 'religious freedom.'

"We invite any and all Americans to visit any of our LBGTQ-owned bakeries in Chicago, especially those who practice religious bigotry. You might learn a thing or two."

The five Aldermen who make up the LGBT Caucus are: James Cappleman, Deb Mell, Raymond Lopez, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and Tom Tunney.

Statement From Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel:

"Today's Supreme Court decision is deeply disappointing, but it does not give anyone a license to discriminate, and it will not undermine our ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The City of Chicago will continue to uphold equal protection under the law, regardless of the person you love or how you identify. As we start to celebrate Pride Month, let's recognize the countless contributions made by LGBT Chicagoans and reaffirm our unwavering belief in equality for all."



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