In response to opening arguments being heard in the United States Supreme Court case 303 Creative, LLC v. Elenis, activists from Affinity Community Services, Chicago for Abortion Rights, National Organization for Women and the Gay Liberation Network presented a press conference on the corner of Dearborn and Adams Streets in downtown Chicago on Dec. 5.
Featured speakers included Corinna Sac, co-owner of UpRising Bakery and Cafe; Dina Ninfro, of the executive chapter of Chicago Now; Linda Lowe, from the steering committee for Chicago Abortion Rights; and Andy Thayer of Gay Liberation Network.
The case, which has already garnered national headlines, concerns website designer Lorie Smith, who wanted to expand her business, which was registered in Colorado as 303 Creative LLC, to include wedding announcement websites.
As stated in a press release for the press conference, "Mimicking many of the same arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a similar case which resulted in a narrow 2018 Supreme Court decision, the same right wing law firm, Alliance Defending Freedom [who is defending Smith], is again attempting to overturn Colorado's discrimination law."
In the same press release, Thayer said, "Now that anti-LGBTQ forces have packed the court's majority with the judges they want, they're taking a second bite at the apple. With no hint of irony, they're recycling the same arguments used a generation ago to try to stop equal access to public accommodations for Blacks."
Thayer added, "This court thinks that they are invulnerable...it's going to take public outrage to push this court back."
Ninfro said, "For generations the Supreme Court has been about expanding civil rights but this Court is different. This court went after Women's rights, it went after voting rights, we've seen a pile up of anti-trans bills, now they are going after LGBTQ rights and we need to be concerned. This is another opportunity to roll back civil laws and protections. When you have bigoted laws, you see people answer with violence. What happens in this building [the federal court building] does not stay there."
Loew said, "Nothing is safe and certain, unless we defend it, demand that it remains our right, and fight to extend those rights until they reach everyone."
She added, "It is not enough if Congress says that same sew marriage is ok, if breaking in the side door, the high court rules that misogynist, bigoted, homophobic business owners, hiding behind 'religious freedom' can deny service or accommodation to anyone in the LGBTQ community."
Closing the conference, Corinna Sac spoke on her experiences this past summer in trying to host a children's drag event at her bakery in Lake in the Hills. After a multitude of threats and vandalism, she canceled that event out of fear of harm to herself and her children.