Tuesday, September 28, 2021


Does North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's criminal-justice reform go far enough? Plus, Congress is running out of time to prevent a shutdown and default, and Oregon tackles climate change.


The nation's murder rate is up, the Senate votes on raising the debt limit, the DEA warns about fake prescription painkillers, a new version of DACA could be on the way, and John Hinckley, Jr. could go free next year.


A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Despite SCOTUS Decision, LGBT Rights Still Protected in Wash.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018   

SEATTLE - After siding with a Colorado bakery that refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple this week, the U.S. Supreme Court will look at a petition for a similar case from Washington state on Thursday.

Although the court ruled 7-2 in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the decision was narrowly focused and did not answer the question of whether people can claim religious freedom when refusing to serve LGBT people. Last year, the Washington state Supreme Court ruled against the owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, who turned away a same-sex couple on religious grounds. Emily Chiang, legal director for the ACLU of Washington, represented the couple in that case.

"The state Supreme Court decision stands," she said. "Nothing in the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision takes away the right of LGBT people in the state of Washington to go and receive services for payment at a place of public accommodation."

Chiang said the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to grant the appeal from the Richland florist, deny it or send it back to the state Supreme Court. The high court's Masterpiece Cakeshop decision focused on the conduct of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which it found made disparaging comments about religion considered improper for a state agency.

Chiang described the Washington state case as much more clear cut than the Colorado case. While some of the justices may have wanted to decide on the issue of religious freedom, she said Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority decision, emphasized the importance of anti-discrimination laws.

"Part of what Kennedy wanted to say," Chiang said, "was, 'Yeah, of course you get to have a public accommodations law. That's the basis of access to free commerce that our society has been built on, and that you can't stigmatize a group of people by turning them away.' "

State leaders, including Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, say they'll continue to defend anti-discrimination laws in Washington. Chiang said it's unclear when the U.S. Supreme Court will announce its decision on whether to hear the Arlene's Flowers case.

The Masterpiece Cakeshop decision is online at supremecourt.gov.

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