Across the Country, 500+ Small Businesses Support LGBTQ Non-Discrimination ProtectionsBy Adam Polaski • November 30, 2017 • 11:32 am
Just days before the United States Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a landmark LGBTQ discrimination case – that could have far-reaching consequences for LGBTQ Americans – more than 500 small businesses from across the country are uniting to show their support for LGBTQ nondiscrimination measures that ensure all Americans are treated fairly and equally.
The business owners have signed onto Freedom for All Americans’ Small Businesses Against LGBTQ Discrimination pledge affirming their opposition to discrimination and their belief that businesses should be #OpenToAll. FFAA is releasing the pledge just days ahead of oral argument in the Supreme Court’s Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, concerning the case of a Colorado bakery owner who violated Colorado’s nondiscrimination law by refusing service to a same-sex couple trying to purchase a wedding cake. It comes the same week as the launch of the movement-wide #OpenToAll campaign, of which Freedom for All Americans is proud to be a part.
Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans, said today:
“Small business leaders from every corner of the nation and all walks of life are coming together to send an important message: businesses open to the public must be open to all. Small business owners know better than anyone else the importance of doing business in vibrant, thriving communities. They understand how critical it is to have access to the best and brightest talent, and to create environments where all customers feel welcome and respected. As our efforts to advance nondiscrimination move from state legislatures to the courts to the halls of Congress, small business leaders undoubtedly will be among some of our most important partners in securing equal treatment.”
Small Business Leaders Support LGBTQ Protections
Bill Snipes, owner of Snipes Insurance Agency in Oklahoma City, said:
“My family has operated our insurance agency for more than a half-century, and I believe we’ve succeeded because we’ve always tried to treat all of our customers fairly and with respect. Everyone should have the freedom to their beliefs and personal views, but business owners must recognize that when they open their doors to the public they open them to everyone.”
The Masterpiece case involves a Colorado bakery that refused to sell a cake to a same-sex couple celebrating their civil marriage. This action was in direct violation of Colorado’s nondiscrimination law, and both the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and the state appellate court ruled in favor of the couple.
Brandon Skall, CEO & Co-Founder of DC BrauBrewing Company, DC’s premier production craft brewery said:
“DC Brau Brewing Company’s mission is to bring people together through extraordinary beer, passion for our craft, and pride for our community. We brew our beers for everyone to enjoy — whether they enjoy lighter German-style pilsners or super hoppy Imperial IPAs — regardless of their politics, religion, or sexual orientation. That’s why we’re standing up for all customers today.”
Growing Support Among Small Businesses
The pledge is just the latest evidence that small business owners reject discrimination. Last month, new polling found that nearly two-thirds of small business owners don’t believe businesses should be able to turn away LGBTQ customers simply because of religious beliefs. In fact, the same poll found that nearly 70 percent of small business owners support a federal law protecting LGBTQ people in public spaces. Earlier this fall, FFAA supported an amicus brief from small businesses supporting the plaintiffs in the Masterpiece case. That brief featured leading small business organizations, including Main Street Alliance and the American Independent Business Alliance. Collectively, more than 61,000 small businesses from across the country are represented on the brief.
In addition to the small business brief, FFAA also supported the development and submission of several other “friend-of-the-court” briefs in the Masterpiece case. A faith leaders brief brought together nearly 1,300 clergy from approximately 50 faith traditions across the country, representing half a million congregants. And we leveraged our Mayors Against LGBTQ Discrimination program to file a municipal leaders brief including more than 150 mayors representing 50 million constituents from big cities and smaller municipalities across the country.
Click here to learn more about the Small Businesses Against LGBTQ Discrimination project. To learn more about the wide array of constituencies supporting nondiscrimination in advance of the Masterpiece oral arguments, please visit www.OpenToAll.org.