Today marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark civil rights Supreme Court decision in Newman v. Piggie Park, which ruled that businesses cannot justify discrimination — such as refusing to serve Black customers as was the case then — because of religion.
Yet, the issue is now being re-litigated. This time, by framing the issue as one of free speech and religious liberty, a Colorado bakery is trying to rewrite the playbook for dismantling civil rights protections against discrimination.
But no matter how the bakery reinvents the argument for allowing even some discrimination, Piggie Park still controls the outcome of this case: there is absolutely no room in our anti-discrimination laws to carve out an exception for religious beliefs. And this week, as we think about the legacy of Piggie Park, we should all consider the lessons from the past that warn against the looming civil rights crisis that a decision counter to Piggie Park could spell.
Read the full Medium post here.