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Bet Tzedek’s Statement re: 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis

Bet Tzedek has been serving all communities in Los Angeles — regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity — since we opened our doors in 1974. During that nearly 50-year history, Bet Tzedek has assisted countless members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Our advocacy has included representing LGBTQIA+ community members facing unlawful evictions, helping gay and lesbian couples draft advanced health care directives to ensure loved ones can care for each other, seeking reparations owed to them by the German government, and assisting transgender immigrant youth seeking refuge in the U.S.

Seven years ago, Bet Tzedek established its Trans Advocacy Project after witnessing an overwhelming and increased need to provide representation on behalf of transgender community members facing employment, housing, public accommodations, and health care access discrimination. Establishing this program — and serving as allies to, and members of, the LGTBQIA+ community — has been one of tremendous pride and perpetual growth. We are honored and consider ourselves privileged to have secured much-needed health care treatment on behalf of trans Angelenos, preserved affordable housing for many, and facilitated meaningful access to justice on behalf of hundreds of community members seeking legal name and gender marker changes. Some of our most moving moments participating in this work have been the small ones, such as when a mother who brought her child, who identified as trans, to our office and told us our office was the first public space where her child felt safe and welcomed.

As former client Mars Wright once said, “I remember seeing Bet Tzedek’s posts on Instagram for free gender marker and name change and I was literally … crying because I was so excited. At the time, it all felt so overwhelming and scary, and I was just so happy to find that there were people out there who were going to help me.”

With moments like that in mind, the staff of Bet Tzedek are so disheartened and angered at hearing the news of the Supreme Court’s ruling in 303 Creative v. Elenis. As Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissent, it is a “sad day in American constitutional law and the lives of LGBT people.” She goes on to explain, “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 … By issuing this new license to discriminate in a case brought by a company that seeks to deny same-sex couples the full and equal enjoyment of its services, the immediate, symbolic effect of the decision is to mark gays and lesbians for second-class status.”

Bet Tzedek stands with LGBTQIA+ communities and their families. We stand with communities by continuing efforts to ensure that LGBTQIA+ Angelenos have the same access to justice as all Angelenos. We stand with LGBTQIA+ communities by ensuring they have the same access to housing and employment as all other Angelenos. We stand with LGBTQIA+ communities by ensuring they have the full breath of access to health care as all other community members in California. And we will stand with LGBTQIA+ communities by striving to create a space, for all our communities and our colleagues, that is welcoming, inclusive, and supportive of all our community members and affirms the moral and legal validity of their full, first-class citizenship.