The use of religion as a means to discriminate against gays and lesbians is in response to court rulings striking down anti-gay marriage laws. As stated by the The New York Times editorial board, "Religious-freedom laws, which were originally intended to protect religious minorities from burdensome laws or regulations, have become increasingly invoked by conservative Christian groups as gay rights in general — and marriage equality in particular — found greater acceptance nationally." But, the board goes on to say, religious freedom was not meant to "serve as a cover for discrimination in the public sphere. In the past, racial discrimination was also justified by religious beliefs, yet businesses may not refuse service to customers because of their race. Such behavior should be no more tolerable when it is based on sexual orientation."