Donald Trump hasn’t yet taken to Twitter to share his thoughts on a U.S. Supreme Court case that many LGBTQ Americans have been anxiously following, but White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders recently made it clear that the president and his administration aren’t on their side.
During Tuesday’s White House press briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to address comments made by President Donald Trump’s Solicitor General, Noel Francisco, during the oral arguments in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case centers on a Christian cake shop owner who refused to design a wedding cake for a gay couple, citing his religious beliefs as justification for doing so.
As reported by the Washington Post, Justice Anthony Kennedy asked Solicitor General Francisco if he believes that it should be acceptable for bakers to put signs in their windows saying, “We don’t bake cakes for gay weddings.” Francisco said that he would not take issue with such signage.
“And you would not think that an affront to the gay community?” Kennedy responded.
New York Times reporter Michael Shear later asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders about President Donald Trump’s stance on anti-gay signs, and she revealed that he agrees with his solicitor general, not Justice Kennedy.
“The president certainly supports religious liberty and that’s something he talked about during the campaign and has upheld since taking office,” Sanders said, according to the Advocate.
When she was pressed on whether the president’s support for “religious liberty” would specifically extend to businesses using signage to turn away gay customers, she answered in the affirmative.
“I believe that would include that,” Sanders said.
Kennedy — who will likely be the deciding vote in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case — may not share Donald Trump and Solicitor General Noel Francisco’s views on anti-gay signs, but he did echo the arguments of those who believe that gay couples should simply take their business elsewhere if a bakery refuses to make them a wedding cake. According to ThinkProgress, Kennedy told David Mullins and Charlie Craig — the gay couple that was denied service by Masterpiece Cakeshop — that “there are other shops” they could have purchased their wedding cake from.
In the comments section of the Advocate article about Donald Trump’s stance on anti-gay signs, some readers actually expressed support for the idea of businesses letting customers know that they do not want to serve members of the LGBTQ community.
“I would rather know up front who the bigots are, so I can give my business to those who are truly ‘LGBT Equality’ supportive. And if a sign works, so be it,” read one remark.
However, LGBTQ activist Dan Savage believes that most businesses wouldn’t dare put up such signs. In a recent post on the Stranger, he pointed out that “there’s nothing to stop bakers in states where business owners can legally discriminate against gay people right now from putting those signs.” So why don’t they do it?
“Because hater bakers know that putting ‘We Don’t Serve Gay People’ signs in their windows will not only cost them our business—business they don’t want—but also the business of our straight friends, family members, and neighbors,” Savage wrote. “Business they do want. And they’ll also lose the business of fair-minded straight people who think discrimination is wrong.”
The ACLU has created the antithesis of the anti-gay signs that Donald Trump and his administration support. The nonprofit organization is currently offering free “Open to All” stickers to business owners who want their customers to know that they don’t discriminate against the LGBTQ community.