Tenn. LGBTQ community discouraged by string of court case losses

Dec 6, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  A leading Tennessee gay rights advocate says the state’s LGBTQ community is bracing for another loss at the Supreme Court.

The nation’s highest court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a case out of Colorado involving a baker who refused in 2012 to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Credit supremecourt.gov

Pundits say Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is likely to cast the deciding vote. Kennedy’s questions Tuesday suggest he’s torn between the gay rights aspects of the case on one hand, and the free speech implications of the case on the other.

Chris Sanders heads the Tennessee Equality Project. He says the gay community fears this case will go against them, as did another recent Supreme Court ruling on a case out of Texas.

“Basically, the Texas Supreme Court said, just because you can get a marriage license, it doesn’t mean that same-sex couples are necessarily entitled to the benefits to go with that.”

Sanders notes that Tennessee allows discrimination based on sexual orientation. He says that means gay Tennesseans do sometime experience the kind of accomodation discrimination challenged in the Colorado wedding cake incident.

Conservative Christians are also watching the case closely. David Fowler with the Family Action Council of Tennessee says many Christians fear the gay rights issue will eventually force them out of public service professions.

“That’s what I guess I see is an increasing level of concern that it’s getting harder and harder to be true to what I believe as I engage in the public square.”

Both sides will have to wait for the SCOTUS ruling. The court won't announce its decision until June of next year.