Last week, the Open to All coalition and MAP launched the inaugural Open to All Week to raise awareness about the importance of nondiscrimination protections and why if businesses are open to the public, they should be open to all. Two important United States Supreme Court cases are shaping this conversation: Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission and Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises.
Fifty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the Piggie Park case, which involved a small barbeque chain still open today, that 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 Court disagreed in a landmark decision issued on March 18, 1968.
So, what does the Piggie Park case have to do with Open to All and the Masterpiece Cakeshop case?
The impact of Piggie Park has reverberated for decades as a critical part of the foundation of our nation’s Civil Rights laws, and the principle that businesses that are open to the public should be open to everyone on the same terms.
Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission involves a Colorado bakery that discriminated against a gay couple in violation of Colorado law, and is claiming it should be exempt from the state’s law due to the religious beliefs of its owner.
A win for the bakery would set us back decades and transport our country back to a time when businesses could say “we don’t serve your kind here,” and would give businesses a legal, constitutionally protected license to discriminate against LGBT people, people of color, minority faiths, people with disabilities, and women. The Open to All coalition was formed in December 2017 to build support for nondiscrimination laws and focus attention on the far-reaching, dangerous risks of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.
That’s why Open to All Week is so critical, to remind people that the Supreme Court has heard these arguments before. And just as they did 50 years ago, the Court must reject discrimination.
To amplify this message, we released a number of resources for Open to all Week, including two new ads “Open to All” and “Will We Go Back?“, opinion pieces, a policy brief, and new shareables on social media.
We’re heartened by the efforts of advocates, allies, and even celebrities during Open to All week. Because of the collective outreach of the nearly 150 organizations involved in Open to All, our message reached millions of people on social media.
Check out some of the great #OpentoAll posts from major influencers and celebrities:
- Andy Cohen
- George Takei
- Dustin Lance Black
- Alysia Reiner
- Wilson Cruz
- Matt Bomer
- Drew Seeley
- Ashley Williams
- Rev. Al Sharpton
- Vanita Gupta
- The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
- The Religious Institute
- Lambda Legal
- The National LGBTQ Task Force
Today, as the nation awaits a decision in Masterpiece, Piggie Park’s legacy must be honored. Here’s how you can get involved:
- WATCH the ads and share them 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.