News Releases
June 30, 2023

BBA Opposes Supreme Court Ruling in 303 Creative v. Elenis

Letter or Statement

The BBA is deeply concerned by today’s decision from the US Supreme Court in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, which approves outright discrimination against LGBTQIA+ couples.

“We support the LGBTQIA+ community,” said BBA President Chinh Pham. “The BBA is deeply troubled by this ruling, which contributes to growing backlash against LGBTQIA+ individuals and their rights nationwide.”

The ruling in 303 Creative allows someone who considers themselves to be an artist to discriminate against LGBTQIA+ individuals in the provision of public accommodations. Public accommodations laws protect not only LGBTQIA+ individuals, but also racial minorities, women, disabled individuals, and others in the United States from discrimination. This ruling is a troubling sign from a Court that, only eight years ago, affirmed the right to marriage equality for same-sex couples in Obergefell v. Hodges. The decision in 303 Creative erodes protections for a large and diverse group of people, just one year after Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization stripped the federal right to reproductive care from Supreme Court jurisprudence and threatened a rollback of other long-accepted rights.

The BBA has long supported the expansion of civil rights and protections for the LGBTQIA+ community. In 1989, we signed onto the first statewide anti-discrimination law in Massachusetts and were one of the first bar associations in the nation to file an amicus brief supporting equal marriage rights in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, in which Massachusetts became the first state to find that same-sex couples had a right to marry.

Today’s decision is a troubling departure from this recent history of progressing the rights of protected classes so that all people are able to live and participate in public life openly, without fear. As Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated in her dissent, “Time and again, businesses and other commercial entities have claimed constitutional rights to discriminate. And time and again, this Court has courageously stood up to those claims—until today.”

The BBA has stood against discrimination and advocated for LGBTQIA+ rights, and, in the face of this ruling, we affirm our commitment to supporting the rights and dignity of the LGBTQIA+ community.