Advocates call for new accommodations law following SCOTUS ruling


SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

But the ruling is being narrowly applied, and that has people on both sides of the issue claiming victory.

The decision comes on the heels of a successful Pride weekend in Salt Lake City.

“So many people coming out. Utahns are good people. They are accepting and loving, and are now welcoming the LGBT community on unprecedented levels,” said Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams.

The nation’s highest court ruled on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

In a 7-2 decision, justices sided with the baker who refused service to a same-sex couple.

Interestingly enough, people on both sides are finding hope in the ruling.

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, a known defender of religious liberty issued this statement:

“Hostility toward religion has no place in government. At the same time, religious freedom means much more than freedom from government hostility. Courts must protect the ability of believers to freely live their faith and to express their religious beliefs openly and honestly.”

LGBTQ advocates are pointing to the unique concerns that apply to this specific case. They say the ruling is more about the justices taking exception to a lower judge showing hostility toward the bakers religion.

They say other indications bode well for their cause.

“The court was very clear that a person’s religious objections are not a basis for denying goods and services to gay couples,” said Clifford Rosky, Advisory Council for Equality Utah.

They also see this as an opportunity to build on Utah’s landmark non-discrimination law from 2015, which provides protections for employment and housing.

“We have established, in Utah, a model of fairness for all. So, we are going to call on the Utah Legislature to work closely with us to pass a comprehensive, inclusive public accommodations law that protects the LGBTQ community,” said Williams.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor were the two dissenting votes.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...