Economy

Supreme Court agrees to hear religious liberty case next term

Supreme Court agrees to hear religious liberty case next term

To make matters even worse, Phillips's lawyers say in their Supreme Court brief that the couple could have "easily obtained a free wedding cake with a rainbow design from another bakery", because all gay couples apparently want a rainbow cake at their wedding.

Supreme court justices voted to hear an appeal from Phillips, who is arguing that he deserved a religious exemption based on his 1st Amendment rights.

"The fact that the company was ostensibly willing to provide other goods to the couple did not cure its discriminatory refusal to provide a wedding cake, a good it otherwise offered to the general public", attorneys for Mullins and Craig wrote.

It all started when a baker in Lakewood refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. The court ruled in favor of Craig and Mullins, and a Colorado appeals court then upheld that decision.

The owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa came to national attention when they claimed it would be "sinful" to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, launching a legal battle against the state's equality laws. In this case, Phillips says, he felt that baking the cake would make him an active participant in a gay wedding-something he opposes because of his Christian beliefs.

In 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Colorado filed a lawsuit on behalf of Mullins and Craig, alleging the bakery discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation.

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Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, lost lower court rulings, which said he violated state law by refusing service to customers based on their sexual orientation.

On Monday, the Supreme Court granted Masterpiece's ensuing petition for certiorari.

"Every American should be free to choose which art they will create and which art they won't create without fear of being unjustly punished by the government", said David Cortman, ADF senior counsel.

"Lesbians and gay men (as well as others protected by antidiscrimination statutes) would not know which businesses were open to them, and could not expect the law to consistently protect their rights to access public accommodations on the same terms as other citizens".

But some states do have civil rights protections in place for LGBTQ people - and a Supreme Court ruling could dictate how far these laws go. That solution would've been eminently sensible since the court has never held that commercial businesses have a constitutional right to discriminate against a certain class of customers. A Kentucky appeals court recently upheld a printer's right to refuse to print shirts promoting a gay pride festival, reasoning that his actions did not discriminate against any individuals due to their sexual orientation.


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