In a recent ruling for a significant same-sex marriage case, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor made a misleading assertion that the 2016 shooting rampage at Pulse, a gay nightclub in the city of Orlando, Florida, was brought on by anti-gay hatred.
By a vote of 6-3, the Supreme Court decided on Friday that a Christian graphic designer who wants to create wedding websites has the right to reject work from same-sex couples.
Despite a Colorado law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, color, gender, and other factors, the court found in favor of fashion designer Lorie Smith. Smith had argued that the law went against her right to free expression.
In the majority decision of the court, Justice Neil Gorsuch stated that Colorado was trying to “force an individual to speak in ways that align with its views but defy her conscience about a matter of major significance.” “But tolerance, not coercion, is our Nation’s answer. The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands. Because Colorado seeks to deny that promise, the judgment is reversed.”
Along with Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, liberal Sotomayor dissented from the majority, calling the judgment “a new license to discriminate” and claiming that the “symbolic effect of the decision is to mark gays and lesbians for second-class status.”
Sotomayor referenced the Pulse shooting, which resulted in 49 fatalities and several injuries, in her dissenting opinion. After a standoff during which shooter Omar Mateen swore loyalty to the Islamic State terrorist organization, police shot and killed the terrorist sympathizer-turned-attacker.
The massacre, according to Sotomayor, was a case of anti-LGBTQ hate.
“A social system of discrimination created an environment in which LGBT people were unsafe,” Sotomayor claimed. “Who could forget the … the Pulse nightclub massacre, the second-deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history?”
The FBI along with other law enforcement agencies, contrary to Sotomayor’s claim, were unable to confirm any accusations that Mateen was gay, frequented gay clubs, or even realized the Pulse nightclub was a gay club.
Based on court and phone records that surfaced in the case against Mateen’s widow, who was charged for reportedly aiding & abetting her husband in the attack, Mateen’s decision to target Pulse seems to have been based on its inadequate level of security, not due to the fact it was a homosexual club and that he made the decision in haste right before the attack.
According to reports, Mateen Googled “Orlando nightclubs” after deciding that the security at his intended target, a significant retail and entertainment complex, was overly protective.
Nevertheless, Sotomayor continued to provide examples of anti-LGBTQ bias and violence in her opinion, clearly claiming that the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday will increase animosity toward the LGBTQ population and encourage more hate crimes.
Oh, dear. Justice Sotomayor, in dissent, falsely claims that the Pulse shooting was animated by anti-gay discrimination.
How is she always like this? pic.twitter.com/hvT9J4HNrE
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) June 30, 2023
Gorsuch berated Sotomayor for her dissent, claiming that it “reimagines the facts” from “top to bottom” and dodges the essential inquiry: “Can a State force someone who provides her own expressive services to abandon her conscience and speak its preferred message instead?”
Justices Sotomayor and Jackson are proving to be two of the worst Supreme Court appointees in the modern era. https://t.co/4mmMWiLlrH
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) June 30, 2023
Gorsuch declared on behalf of the court’s six conservative justices: “The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands.”
The ruling is a victory for religious freedom and is one of many recent instances in which the court have supported religious plaintiffs. For instance, a football coach who prayed on the field at his public high school after games received a favorable ruling from the court last year based on ideological principles.
The court’s ruling can be seen as a reversal of how it formerly ruled on homosexual rights issues. The court has been extending the rights of LGBTQ people for 20 years; most significantly, in 2015, it granted same-sex couples the ability to get married. Five years later, it declared that a historic civil rights statute also shields gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals from discrimination in the workplace. Gorsuch also authored the ruling on the civil rights law.
The court was careful to note that persons with different religious beliefs deserved to be respected even as it expanded LGBT rights. The idea that marriage must only be between one man and one woman “long has been held — and continues to be held — in good faith by reasonable and sincere people here and throughout the world,” Justice Anthony Kennedy declared in the court’s judgment on gay marriage.
This ruling and the one on Thursday were far from the conservative-majority court’s most major decision. The one that rocked the political landscape and in part led to a much smaller “red wave” in the 2022 midterms was the overturning of Roe-v-Wade.
The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which had legalized abortion across the country, was overturned by the court in two landmark decisions last year, which were also led by the conservative justices. The court also expanded gun rights in a single major ruling.