The Civil Rights Agenda released a statement Monday expressing concern about the potential impact the Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case could have on the LGBT community. Here's the full statement detailing the group's concerns about the 5-4 decision that was split based on political affiliation:
Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby may not be compelled under the Affordable Care Act to provide contraception coverage as part of their employees’ health plan if doing so would violate the company’s sincerely-held religious beliefs. Although many are calling the ruling narrow, there is a concern that this could impact LGBT discrimination laws and serve as a basis for further discrimination against LGBT individuals.
“The Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case today seems short-sighted and could hold disastrous consequences,” said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda, the fastest growing Illinois Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) civil rights advocacy organization. “My biggest concern is that this decision could open the door for this argument to be used as ammunition in other areas of employment, like hiring and workplace accommodations. Although Alito addresses racial discrimination in the decision he did not address discrimination against LGBT people, and there are virtually no federal laws protecting LGBT individuals from employment discrimination, as stated by Justice Ginsburg in her dissent.
“We are currently working with a plaintiff on a case against Hobby Lobby that deals with a transgender person being able to use the bathroom that corresponds with her gender identity. We simply cannot allow a corporation to use religion as a basis to discriminate and strip its employees of their human and legal rights. Whether that means access to restrooms or access to contraception.
“This is part of Hobby Lobby’s larger strategy of challenging and changing laws across the nation that the owners feel are incompatible with their specific religion. The strategy of feigning discrimination based on one’s religion is the new focus of the right-wing, and is constantly used to fight against the rights of LGBT individuals. That was the strategy used by the Catholic Conference during the marriage equality debate in Illinois and is the strategy in the case that was ruled on today. We will be seeing a lot of this, and we must stand firm against allowing anyone to use religion as a weapon to discriminate.”