I’m dismayed and infuriated by today’s Supreme Court ruling that gives businesses free reign to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.
Make no mistake – this ruling opens the door for hateful people to make bad-faith claims that their beliefs give them the freedom to deny services to those they perceive to be part of the LGBTQ+ community, Black and Latine people, people of other faiths, or anyone else they disagree with. Doctors, pharmacists and other medical providers will be even more empowered to claim their religious beliefs allow them to turn away LGBTQ+ patients – including people living with HIV and transgender people –from medically-necessary services.
The 303 Creative L.L.C. v. Elenis ruling further divides our nation. While some states, like Illinois, have strong protections for LGBTQ+ people, other states – particularly in the South, which has the highest rates of new HIV cases – do not. Others still have outright hostile laws in the books or have introduced legislation to persecute and criminalize LGBTQ+ people, and especially transgender people.
Earlier this month, the Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency for the first time in its history in response to hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state legislatures across the nation. Even now, in the midst of Pride Month, there are reports of fundraising efforts tied to anti-LGBTQ+ statements from Republican presidential-hopeful Ron DeSantis.
AIDS Foundation Chicago urges Congress to act now to pass the Equality Act, which would give fundamental protections to LGBTQ+ people, wherever they live in the United States. To LGBTQ+ people and our allies—I urge you to contact your Representative and Senators in Congress to urge them to pass the Equality Act now, to register to vote, and to vote in every single upcoming election like your life depends on it. Because it does.
Go to www.aidschicago.org to learn more about our advocacy work and how you can get involved. You can also join our Mobile Action Center to get text alerts when AFC creates action opportunities to engage with elected officials. To find your federal elected officials, visit www.usa.gov/elected-officials/.