Artistic Goods and Services Cannot be Used to Override Non-Discrimination Obligations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, PEN America Washington Director Gabe Rottman issued the following statement:
“As a literary organization, we are acutely sensitive to infringements on artistic freedom. We are also cognizant of the central role that anti-discrimination laws play in ensuring that our society, culture, and marketplace of ideas are truly open to all. If creative or artistic goods and services are offered to the public at a retail store open to everyone, states may ensure that they may not then be withheld on the basis of race, religion, gender, or other protected characteristics. In choosing a mode of expression that is offered by sale to the public at large in a retail store, an artist or creator must agree to abide by the law and cannot invoke the First Amendment to override non-discrimination obligations applicable to any other business or institution. This is a case where the baker wasn’t even asked to reflect a specific sentiment. The baker simply refused to design and sell a cake for a wedding with two grooms.”
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.
Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org, +1.646.981.0685