Attorney General William Tong released guidance affirming state and federal anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBTQ+ rights after the allegedly "painful and wrongly decided" Supreme Court decision in the case of 303 Creative v. Elenis.
CT State Rep Jeff Currey (D-East Hartford, Manchester) shared Tong's pain, lamenting that the SCOTUS ruling provided businesses "a free-speech right" which Currey believes will be used for the purpose of discriminating against the LGBTQ+ community.
As a reminder, in the 303 Creative decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment prohibited the state of Colorado from forcing a website designer to create expressive designs speaking messages with which the designer disagrees.
Justice Neil Gorsuch said in his 6-3 majority opinion, “as this Court has long held, the opportunity to think for ourselves and to express those thoughts freely is among our most cherished liberties and part of what keeps our Republic strong.”
Apparently Tong and Currey don't cherish free speech as much as Justice Gorsuch does.
The Connecticut Attorney General’s Office filed a brief in 303 Creative that highlighted two points:
First: A commercially-created wedding website for which a designer is compensated to create a design on behalf of a couple is not the designer’s own speech. Second: Anti-discrimination laws have usually been understood to forbid conduct, not speech. The law does not compel a web designer to speak. Instead, she has chosen to offer her services to the general public. All the law does is forbid “the act of discriminating against individuals in the provision of publicly available goods, privileges, and services.”
The memo went on to argue that the Supreme Court decision’s "narrow scope does not alleviate the very real pain of people who are subjected to discrimination. Nor can it tamp down the frustration of those who correctly believe courts should never sanction bigotry."
Did the CT Attorney General's office just suggest the Supreme Court "sanctioned bigotry" in its ruling protecting freedom on speech?