Graduation Year

2017

Date of Submission

4-2017

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Government

Second Department

Legal Studies

Reader 1

George Thomas

Rights Information

© 2017 Victor Lopez

Abstract

In this thesis I argue that First Amendment free speech and exercise claims do not grant religious business owners the ability to bypass statutes that prohibit discrimination on sexual orientation and gender identity grounds in areas of public accommodations. My arguments focus on the constitutional claims made in the case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Furthermore, I determine that Congress can rely on both the Commerce Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment to pass legislation that prohibits discrimination on sexual orientation and gender identity grounds in areas of public accommodations. I argue that despite the Court’s holding in the Civil Rights Cases, Congress can regulate discrimination by private actors, not just state sponsored discrimination, through the Fourteenth Amendment. I analyze the potential avenues religious business owners can use to undermine both state and federal antidiscrimination statutes and have their discriminatory practices legally sanctioned. I conclude by arguing that religious exemptions do not belong in antidiscrimination statutes.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff. It is not available for interlibrary loan. Please send a request for access through Contact Us.

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