The Supreme Court on Monday said it will consider next term whether a Denver baker unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake.
Phillips argues that he turned away Charlie Craig and David Mullins not because they are gay, but because their wedding violated Phillips’ religious belief.
The justices – who upheld same-sex marriage nationwide in a landmark 2015 ruling – apparently decided that despite state laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation, the merchants’ obligation to same-sex couples was not necessarily baked in the cake.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission said the baker violated a state law requiring that all customers be served, regardless of their sexual orientation. The Supreme Court has taken a case that exemplifies a number of recent decisions by business owners to refuse services for homosexual couples getting married. The shop owner petitioned the Colorado Supreme Court to review the case, but the court declined. Mullins and Craig planned to marry in MA, where same-sex marriages were legal at the time, and then hold a reception in Colorado. “Businesses should not be allowed to violate the law and discriminate against us because of who we are and who we love”.
The case could have far-reaching implications, given 21 states have similar “public accommodations” laws barring such discrimination.
“They said you have to create cakes for same-sex couples, so he removed himself from the market”.
This particular case, known as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, goes back to 2012.
“They are purposefully holding it over for some reason that we don’t know”, Lorence said.
Advocates for the LGBT community see the case as simply an issue of basic rights. But if the Court ruled against Phillips, it would strike a blow against the claim that religious beliefs offer a legal pathway for discrimination. Gorsuch, who is from Colorado, previously ruled in favor of allowing craft store Hobby Lobby to deny employees insurance coverage for contraception on religious grounds.
“The answer to that question should be an obvious “no” and we hope the Court makes this clear by strongly affirming that all Americans’ First Amendment free speech and free exercise rights are protected against such state coercion”. “Same-sex couples like David and Charlie deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else, and we’re ready to take that fight all the way to the Supreme Court”.