Some worried of the impact a recent Supreme Court case may have on gay rights

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 11:21 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Monday, Supreme Court (SCOTUS) members sounded sympathetic to Christian wedding website designer Lorie Smith, who refuses to do business with gay couples because of her religious beliefs.

During oral arguments Monday, SCOTUS members discussed Smith’s argument that working on an LGBTQ+ themed project would violate her first amendment rights.

No decision has been made, but members of the LGBTQ+ community fear the results if SCOTUS members side with Smith, and the message it would send.

“When you keep adding to that message, it’s going to increase the violence against the community,” Drake Turner, Senior Coordinator of Violence Prevention Program at the Center for Nonviolence, said. “It’s going to increase the suffering the community goes through.”

Turner says he’s worried about discrimination members of the LGBTQ+ community may face if SCOTUS rules in favor of Smith.

“The current climate that we’re living in, it does feel like it’s hard to go out and feel like you can be safe being yourself,” Turner said.

Mike Wolf, a political science professor at Purdue Fort Wayne, says members of SCOTUS have taken on a tricky case.

“They’re compelling free speech,” Wolf said. “They’re compelling a creative person to have to use their art toward support towards LGBTQ when they might not religiously believe it, so it’s a very complicated case.”

Some worry that if the law gives a business owner the right to not serve gay couples based on their religious beliefs, what’s to stop other forms of discrimination?

“We’ll see whether or not as a business through the artist that really ends up being something the court says is okay to discriminate as a business against potential customers,” Wolf said.

Turner feels this should be a non-partisan issue.

“I really wish people would stop seeing this as such a Conservative vs. Liberal thing, and see it as, we have human beings in front of us that are struggling and suffering, how can we help them,” Turner said.

The Supreme Court’s decision on this case is expected sometime next year, and members of the LGBTQ+ community say they will be waiting anxiously for that ruling.