On Friday (June 30), the very last day of Pride Month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado web designer who refuses to do business with same-sex couples, effectively setting a new precedent allowing for similar discrimination against the LGBTQ community to take place across the country.
One of many entertainers devastated by the decision is Ben Platt, who vented about the setback to Variety on the day of the ruling along with his fiancé, actor Noah Galvin. “I think it’s a distraction from things that are actually important, like the planet melting,” Platt told the publication. “I also think it’s the people who are losing clout, it’s like the last rageful, fiery ‘This is not how it should be!’ before they go away forever.”
“It’s my only hope,” the Dear Evan Hansen star continued. “That’s the only way to stay any kind of optimistic about it because otherwise it’s just fully going back in time and harming people for no reason. It feels so backwards, so directly backwards.”
Decided in a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court’s latest ruling favors religious freedom over gay rights and overrides a Colorado law contested by the web designer that forbade discrimination against gay people by businesses open to the public. “The opportunity to think for ourselves and to express those thoughts freely is among our most cherished liberties and part of what keeps our Republic strong,” wrote Justice Neil M. Gorsuch for the majority.
In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor countered that the Colorado anti-discrimination law “targets conduct, not speech, for regulation, and the act of discrimination has never constituted protected expression under the First Amendment.”
Earlier this year, Platt spoke out against antisemitic protesters who showed up outside the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre during the opening night of previews for Parade, an ongoing Broadway musical in which Platt stars as Leo Frank. The show’s true story centers around Frank, a Jewish factory worker who was wrongly convicted of murder in 1913.
“It was a wonderful reminder of why we’re telling this particular story, and how special and powerful art and especially theater can be,” he said at the time. “I wanted the button on this evening, at least for me personally, to be to celebrate what a beautiful experience [the show] is and what gorgeous work all of my wonderful colleagues did tonight, not the really ugly actions of a few people who are spreading evil.”