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Supreme Court hearing same-sex marriage cake case

Supreme Court hearing same-sex marriage cake case

The Trump administration has backed the Christian baker, Jack Phillips, who argued his free speech right to express himself through his cakes was infringed when Colorado's Civil Rights Commission ordered him to bake cakes for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation.

The case pits the religious freedom cases of Jack Phillips, who possesses Masterpiece Cakeshop, against the couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, who say Phillips' activities add up to segregation.

The case concerns a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake to celebrate a same-sex couple's marriage because he believes that God designed marriage to be between a man and a woman.

The conservative members of the court appeared to be more receptive to the argument that Phillips, who describes himself as a "cake artist", should not be forced to create something that conflicts with his religious beliefs.

Kennedy was concerned that the allowing such an exception here would essentially allow businesses to boycott gays and lesbians. But he also accused Colorado officials of exhibiting a "hostility to religion".

The case is Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colo. Supreme Court justices will determine whether Colorado's public accommodation laws, which prohibit discrimination in places like retail stores and other service establishments, violate a person's right to free speech when used to force someone to create an expression that contradicts their religious beliefs.

LGBT rights advocates expect that if the Supreme Court at last favors Phillips, it will lessen its point of interest assessment from two years prior that made room for same-sex marriage across the country.

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All eyes were on Kennedy throughout the 75-minute argument.

"So, the jeweler?" Justice Elena Kagan asked. A jeweler? A makeup artist?

The city and current Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, also a Democrat, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying the dispute had already been settled because the Obergefell ruling extended to married same-sex couples the "constellation of benefits that the states have linked to marriage".

Kennedy anxious about the dignity of same sex couples. But the Supreme Court, bolstered in April by the addition of stalwart conservative and fellow Coloradan Neil Gorsuch, could be a different story. "Today's abnegation by the nation's highest court opens the door for an onslaught of challenges to the rights of LGBTQ people at every step". That signaled a potential compromise in the case - sending it back to Colorado courts to decide whether Phillips was treated unfairly. In 2015 the US Supreme Court overturned the ban on same-sex marriage.

They fear that if the Supreme Court ultimately sides with Phillips, it will diminish its landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. The 81-year-old Kennedy is the author of the 2015 gay marriage decision and all the court's major gay-rights rulings.

Over the past three months, the high court has been flooded with almost 100 "friend of the court" briefs, equally divided between the two sides. Fortunately, Supreme Court precedent since then dictates that religious freedom does not exempt business from civil rights laws.

"(But) no one is suggesting that the baker has to march in the parade", Cole said. A decision is not expected until the spring. Although the customer claimed that the refusal to provide a cake with this message was "demeaning to his beliefs", the agency said the owner could refuse to put a message on cakes which included "derogatory language and imagery", provided it would do so for all customers.