Sexual Orientation

A third case granting a wedding provider a free speech exemption from an antidiscrimination law

For the third time, a court has held that a public accommodations law cannot be enforced against a service provider who objects, for religious reasons, to same sex marriage. Chelsey Nelson Photography, LLC v. Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Gov’t, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146246 (W.D. Ky. 2020). The other two times were: Telescope Media Group...

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Both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are forms of sex discrimination

Although decided under Title VII (employment discrimination) rather than the Fair Housing Act, the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, 140 S.Ct. 1731 (2020) that both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are forms of sex discrimination is quite likely to be extended to the housing context. Justice Gorsuch’s majority opinion focused on a textual...

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Virginia prohibits sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in housing and public accommodations

By passage of the Virginia Values Act, Virginia joins 22 other states and the District of Columbia in prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations and housing (as well as employment). Va. Stat. §2.2-3904 and §36–96.3 (as amended by 2020 Va. H.B. 1663 (Feb. 27, 2020)).

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Eighth Circuit holds that videographers have First Amendment free speech right to refuse to provide services at same-sex weddings

In Telescope Media Group v. Lucero, 936 F.3d 740 (8th Cir. 2019), the Eighth Circuit held that Minnesota could not enforce its public accommodations law against a company that refused to provide video services for same-sex weddings. The process of producing a video, the court said, constitutes “speech” and would be posted on the company’s website....

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State constitutional and statutory right in Arizona to refuse to create custom wedding invitations for same-sex couples

In a 4-3 decision, the Arizona Supreme Court has interpreted its constitution, Ariz. Const. art. 2, §6, and its Free Exercise of Religion Act, Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 41-1493.01, to give a public accommodation the right to refuse service to same-sex couples who seek custom wedding invitations. ...

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Federal court allows public accommodation to refuse to create custom videos of same-sex weddings

In a 2 to 1 vote, the Eight Circuit has held that the First Amendment prohibits a state from enforcing its public accommodations law if it requires videographers to create custom videotapes of same-sex weddings even though they provide this service to opposite-sex weddings. Telescope Media Group v. Lucero, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 25320 (8th Cir. 2019). Because the videos will be edited and posted on the videographer's website, the majority accepted the defendant's argument that they would convey a message of support for same-sex marriage contrary to the... Read more about Federal court allows public accommodation to refuse to create custom videos of same-sex weddings

Washington Supreme Court reaffirms its finding of sexual orientation discrimination by florist

On remand in light of the Supreme Court ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colo. Civil Rights Comm'n,  the Washington Supreme Court unanimously reaffirmed its ruling in State v. Arelene's Flowers, 389 P.3d 543 (Wash 2017), as modified by 2017 Wash. LEXIS 222 (Wash. 2017). Lambda Legal, ...

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Wedding planning website cannot refuse to serve same-sex couples

A Web-based graphic design company that intends to design custom websites for customers planning weddings sought to place a statement explaining the owner's intent not to serve same-sex couples. A federal court has held that this violates the state's public accommodations law because it constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. ...

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Seventh Circuit holds that the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation

Extending a former precedent concerning employment discrimination, Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, 853 F.3d 339 (7th Cir. 2017), a three judge panel of the Seventh Circuit has held that discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by the Fair Housing Act. Wetzel v. Glen St. Andrew... Read more about Seventh Circuit holds that the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation