Reactions after Supreme Court rules in favor of Christian web designer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Parishioners at Calvary Episcopal Church gathered to celebrate the end of Pride Month Friday with a drag show to benefit the church’s food ministry.
As community members came together for the performance, the Supreme Court’s ruling protecting the right of a wedding website designer to refuse service to same-sex couples weighed on many minds.
“I’m disappointed to say the least because I fully understand and believe that God loves all people,” Reverend Lee Shafer said. “And we should do everything we can to support all people, not stop people who love each other.”
The church has a longstanding history of supporting the LGBTQ community, and Shafer said events like Friday’s performance are an important part of the church’s outreach. The church leaders we spoke with said they disagreed with the Court’s decision.
“For us as people of faith, we seek to respect the dignity of every human being and to hypothetically say I’m not going to do something flies in the face of what we are called to do,” Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky Terry White said.
Some of those who gathered to protest the performance outside the church agreed with the ruling but said it didn’t go far enough.
“I wish they had gone a little bit further and defended them in their religious rights and not just their free speech,” said Joseph Spurgeon, the pastor of Sovereign King Church in Jeffersonville. “But I was very happy that we’re not forced to have compelled speech when we’re designing things, using our creativity.”
The decision suggests that creative professionals like artists, photographers, videographers and writers can refuse to offer what the court called “expressive services” if doing so would contradict their beliefs. The idea is that their creative services qualify as a form of “speech”.
However, businesses that do not engage in speech, such as restaurants or hotels, would not be covered by the First Amendment.
“No one should be forced to speak something they don’t agree with,” Spurgeon said.
Cadillac Seville, one of the performers at the event who has been a drag performer for 40 years, hopes the ruling won’t lead even more businesses to refuse service to LGBTQ individuals.
“It could, but I don’t think it will because it’ll hit the pocket,” Seville said. “That’s where it’s going to hurt most is when it starts hitting the pocket of businesses.”
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