Pedro Pascal joins backlash to US Supreme Court after LGBTQ+ rights roll back

Pedro Pascal (left) and a screenshot from his instagram story

Pedro Pascal has joined the criticism of the US Supreme Court following its ruling on an LGBTQ+ discrimination case – a decision some activists believe could see a reversal of queer rights. 

On Friday (30 June), the Supreme Court, which has a conservative majority, ruled 6-3 that the constitutional right to free speech means businesses can refuse to provide services for same-sex weddings

The case was brought by web designer Lori Smith, an evangelical Christian who challenged a Colorado anti-discrimination law by citing her religious beliefs. 

Smith, who believes marriage is between one man and one woman, sells custom web designs but refuses to provide her services for same-sex weddings. 

LGBTQ+ activists, fellow judges and politicians have expressed grave concern over the ruling, with suggestions from some that it could be used as a gateway for businesses and other organisations to discriminate more widely against LGBTQ+ people and other minority groups. 

Weighing in on the topic, The Last of US star, and staunch LGBTQ+ ally, Pascal shared an image of the Supreme Court justices on his Instagram story, with trans and Pride flags placed over the ones who voted in Smith’s favour. 

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Despite there being no words in the post, Pascal’s message was clear: he was calling out the justices who favoured anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination. 

Pedro Pascal shared a post to his Instagram story, criticising the US Supreme Court decision. (Pedro Pascal on Instagram)

Commenting on the outcome, associate justice Sonia Sotomayor, who voted against the “licence to discriminate”, said: “Today, the court, for the first time in its history, grants a business, open to the public, a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class.

“The immediate, symbolic effect of the decision is to mark gays and lesbians for second-class status.” 

Meanwhile, US president Joe Biden voiced his worries about possible repercussions of the ruling. 

“While the court’s decision only addresses expressive original designs, I’m deeply concerned that the decision could invite more discrimination against LGBTQI+ Americans,” he said. 

“We will work with states across the country to fight back against attempts to roll back civil rights protections that could follow this ruling.”

Vice-president Kamala Harris echoed Biden’s view, vowing to work to “enforce federal anti-discrimination protections”. 

In a tweet, she said: “The Supreme Court has paved the way for businesses to discriminate against the LGBTQI+ community, racial and religious minorities, the disability community and women.”

Former secretary of state and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also took to Twitter, writing that recent Supreme Court rulings are “sadly predictable for anyone who understands the hard-right agenda”. 

She went on to say: “Their goal has always been to install justices whose job is to turn back the clock on our freedoms, on decades of constitutional decisions and on our continuing struggle to form a more perfect union that includes all of us. 

“Let’s vote out their political enablers and rein in the dark, subversive money that supports them in their quest to reverse a century of progress.”

‘This is a deeply troubling crack in our progress’

Elsewhere, Human Rights Campaign president Kelley Robinson issued statement in which she said: “This decision is a dangerous step backward, giving some businesses the power to discriminate against people simply because of who we are.

“Our nation has been on a path of progress, deciding over the course of many decades that businesses should be open regardless of race, disability or religion. Many states have expanded this promise to include sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.

“This is a deeply troubling crack in our progress and should be alarming to us all.”

She continued: “People deserve to have commercial spaces that are safe and welcoming. This decision continues to affirm how radical and out-of-touch this court is, especially when 80 per cent of Americans support robust and LGBTQ+-inclusive non-discrimination laws.

“Make no mistake, this case was manufactured by the [conservative Christian legal advocacy group] Alliance for Defending Freedom to create a new licence to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.

“Despite our opponents claiming this is a major victory, this ruling does not give unfettered power to discriminate. This decision does not mean that any LGBTQ+ person can be discriminated against in housing, employment or banking – those protections remain enshrined with federal law.”

The LGBTQ+ community is in a “state of emergency” where “all levels of government are trying to erase us”, she added. “But we will not let them erase us, we will fight back.”