LOS ANGELES, CA, JUNE 30, 2023 – Last summer, Public Counsel and seven other civil rights groups signed onto an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis. Filed by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and McDermott Will & Emery LLP, Public Counsel joined this brief because of our deep support for laws that prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as against other protected identities such as race, national origin, gender, and age. We are extremely disappointed in today’s Supreme Court ruling in this case, which not only allows private business owners to discriminate based on anti-LGBTQ+ prejudices but may open the door to further identity-based discrimination.
In a year where we have seen more than 525 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in 41 states, as well as coordinated acts of violence to disrupt Pride Month celebrations at local L.A. area schools, we are deeply concerned about the impact this Supreme Court decision will have on our clients and the communities we serve. As Justice Sotomayor noted in her dissent: “Today, the Court, for the first time in its history, grants a business open to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class.”
As a public interest law firm, we are dedicated to advancing civil rights, including defending the equality and dignity of our LGBTQ+ clients, staff, and community members. Our nation’s 14th Amendment protects the right to equal protection under the law, and the courts remain essential to holding our nation accountable to this promise of equality. We will continue to fight to uphold these vital protections.
Public Counsel is a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to advancing civil rights and racial and economic justice, as well as to amplifying the power of our clients through comprehensive legal advocacy. Founded on and strengthened by a pro bono legal service model, our staff and volunteers seek justice through direct legal services, promote healthy and resilient communities through education and outreach, and support community-led efforts to transform unjust systems through litigation and policy advocacy in and beyond Los Angeles.