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Barbara L’Italien On Supreme Court Decision In Equal Rights Case: “Every American Deserves Fairness And Dignity”

Jun 08, 2018 05:35AM ● By Theresa Gilman

State Senator Barbara L’Italien

(Editor's Note: the following information was provided by Barbara L’Italien for Congress.)

ANDOVER, MA — State senator, congressional candidate, and longtime LGBTQ rights leader Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover) issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court's decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission:
 
“Every American deserves fairness and dignity. The right to one’s religious beliefs is sacred, but it does not grant anyone the power to discriminate in public life. No one should have to go through the humiliation Charlie Craig and David Mullins did, and I continue to hope the courts will not create new roadblocks to equality for them and the entire LGBT community.
 
“There is a great deal of work ahead of us. There are far too many places in this country where you can be fired from your job, be denied an apartment, or be refused service because of who you love or who you are. That’s unacceptable to me. Fixing it is going to be key to my mission in Washington.
 
“When marriage equality was under threat in Massachusetts, I defended it at risk of my seat and at the cost of my church membership. That’s the kind of commitment I will bring to making the Equality Act the law of the land as your congresswoman.”
 
BACKGROUND:
The Supreme Court today ruled narrowly in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, without making a decision on the constitutional question of whether First Amendment protections against compelled speech in expressive activity create an exception to laws barring discrimination in public accomodations.
 
Barbara L’Italien has been a champion for vulnerable populations and equal rights for the LGBT community. As a first-term representative in a conservative district, she not only voted to protect same-sex marriage rights in Massachusetts but took a leadership role in pushing her fellow legislators to do the same, nearly costing her her seat and causing her to be pushed out of her church.
 
When Massachusetts’ landmark transgender rights bill came up in 2016, she reached out to trans people in her district to discuss what it meant to them and shared their stories on the Senate floor. (Watch a video with supporter Shane Crabtree discussing this effort here.)
 
As a member of Congress, she will cosponsor the Equality Act to strengthen the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by protecting against discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. She will also support a federal ban on conversion therapy, and oppose legal shields for acts of discrimination and federal tax dollars going to institutions that are not open and accessible to the LGBTQ community.
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