Fifty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued one of its fastest rulings ever in a landmark case, Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises. Piggie Park, a small barbeque chain which is still open today, wanted the right to refuse service to African American customers. The owner, a segregationist, claimed that the Civil Rights Act violated his religious freedom.
The Supreme Court delivered a resounding rebuke of the barbecue chain on March 18, 1968, definitively ruling that the restaurant could no longer discriminate.
Sound familiar? That’s because it is.
Now, fifty years later, in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a Colorado bakery that discriminated against a gay couple in violation of Colorado law is claiming it should be exempt from the state’s nondiscrimination law due to the religious beliefs of its owner.
To mark the fifty-year anniversary of the Piggie Park decision, the Open to All campaign, MAP, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights released a new ad, “Will We Go Back?,” that looks at how a current case before the Supreme Court threatens this historic ruling. The ad was released as part of Open to All Week, March 12-18, commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark decision. Learn more about the Piggie Park case and how creating a constitutional license to discriminate in Masterpiece could undermine that historic ruling against discrimination.
Read the story in the Huffington Post “Supreme Court’s Cake Case Could Set America Back 50 Years, Activists Warn”
A win for the bakery in Masterpiece threatens the historic legacy of the Piggie Park decision, and could take us back to a shameful era in our nation’s history, an era where businesses could claim a right to discriminate as they see fit—not just for LGBT people, but for people of color, minority faiths, people with disabilities, and women.
Businesses and their owners have a right to their religious beliefs—but that freedom shouldn’t give businesses a license to discriminate.
- WATCH “Will We Go Back?” and share on social media. Visit www.opentoall.com/sharefor all the shareable Open to All resources.
- READ about the parallels between the cases and why Masterpiece has the potential to alter our nation’s civil rights laws in “50 Years Ago vs. Today: Piggie Park & The High Stakes of the Masterpiece Cakeshop Case”
- VOICE your support for Open to All Week over social media throughout the week with the hashtag #OpentoAllWeek. And follow Open to All on Twitter and Facebook for new content throughout the week.
- SIGN UP for breaking news, ways to take action in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, and to add your support for the Open to All Coalition.
- SIGN the ACLU’s People’s Petition and tell the Supreme Court to reject discrimination.
- DONATE and support more ads like “Will We Go Back?”