The U.S. Supreme Court Monday morning handed down a ruling in the case brought by a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, citing his Christian beliefs.
Many initial reactions from pro- and anti-gay observers and groups have been wide ranging, and many have been wrong. (Perhaps most of all, Donald Trump Jr.’s, but more on that later.)
Here are five of the most important things you need to know about the Supreme Court’s ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd., et al. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission et al:
1. The ruling does not allow discrimination against same-sex couples, LGBT people, or anyone else. It changes no laws and sets no precedents.
2. The ruling applies to one person only: Jack Phillips, the anti-gay Christian baker. Again, it does not set precedent, it cannot be used by others to discriminate against anyone. Period.
3. The only “person” the ruling is against is the Colorado commission that ruled against the baker – and not because of the commission’s overall conclusion, that Phillips engaged in unlawful discrimination. The Supreme Court’s 7-2 ruling says that the commission acted with “hostility,” in this one case, against Phillips.
4. The Court’s ruling calls for Americans to find a way to be tolerant towards each other, respecting the rights of gay people and the rights of people of faith. (It does not state those are two opposing groups.)
5. If anything, the Supreme Court’s ruling is in part a win for the LGBT community and supporters of equality. Here’s the key passage from the Court’s majority opinion: “these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”
You will no doubt see huge proclamations of victory from the anti-gay right. If they say anything other than what’s above, chances are good they’re false.
For more, read: “SUPREME COURT HANDS DOWN ANTI-GAY RULING – FOR ONE WEDDING CAKE BAKER.”
Republicans accused of stifling sexual misconduct claim against Brett Kavanaugh during confirmation
A new report reveals that Deborah Ramirez, a woman who claims Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while she was a student at Yale University, may have had evidence to corroborate her story — but that Republicans created a process which would stifle her account so that Kavanaugh could be confirmed.
This article first appeared in Salon.
Deborah Ramirez, who alleged that she was assaulted by Kavanaugh at a Yale party when she was an underclassman, had her legal team provide the F.B.I. with a list of at least 25 people who could have had evidence to corroborate her story, but the bureau ultimately interviewed none of them, according to The New York Times. The publication also learned that many of the individuals who could have corroborated Ramirez's story attempted to reach the F.B.I. on their own but were unable to do so.
Why is billionaire Tom Steyer running for president — as an enemy of big corporations?
Tom Steyer, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has become a late arrival in the field of Democratic presidential candidates, provides anti-Trump voters with an interesting challenge. His critique of wealth sometimes sounds like Bernie Sanders, but he is by far the richest person in the race (even if you include Donald Trump).
This article first appeared in Salon.
When I interviewed Steyer earlier this year, he said he had no interest in running for president and was instead focused on funding a campaign to impeach President Donald Trump. He has obviously changed his mind — and while still far behind the leading candidates in the polls, has now qualified for the October Democratic debates, even though he wasn't on stage for the debate held in Houston last week.
GOP plan to cut Social Security to offset paid parental leave would weaken retirement security
Two recently introduced bills allowing workers to trade part of their future Social Security retirement benefits for parental leave benefits after the birth or adoption of a child would undercut Social Security’s benefits and structure, weakening the retirement security it offers workers. The United States needs paid leave, but it should not be financed by cutting Social Security benefits.
At some point in their lives, most workers in the United States will experience a major life event or emergency requiring them to take time off work, such as a serious illness, the birth of a child, or caregiving responsibilities for an aging parent. A national, comprehensive paid family leave policy that is responsibly financed would provide much-needed economic support to workers during these times and ensure equitable access to paid leave for low-income people and people of color, who often do not have significant paid leave from their employers.