The Supreme Court will soon hear the case of Jack Phillips, the owner of Colorado-based Masterpiece Cakeshop, who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. Now, the Trump administration has come out in support of Phillips.
Phillips lost his initial appeals case with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, but he then appealed his case to the Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in its fall term.
Phillips’ case will be a pivotal one for religious freedom and gay marriage. His lawyer, Kristen Waggoner from the Alliance Defending Freedom, has argued that “Nobody should be forced to choose between their profession and their faith. Phillips gladly serves anyone who walks into his store, but, as is customary practice for many artists, he declines opportunities to design for a variety of events and messages that conflict with his deeply held beliefs. In this case, Jack told the couple suing him he'd sell them anything in the store but just couldn't design a custom cake celebrating their wedding because of his Christian faith.”
Now, the U.S. Justice Department has urged the Supreme Court to side with Phillips. "Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights," Acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall wrote in a brief, sent to the Court on behalf of the Justice Department.
CNN Supreme Court analyst and University of Texas School of Law professor Steve Vladeck stated that, while it is not unusual for an administration to file an amicus brief with the Court in an important case such as Masterpiece, it is unprecedented for an administration “to argue in favor of a constitutional exemption to antidiscrimination laws -- a constitutional right to discriminate.”
Phillips and his lawyers, however, argue that, at its core, the case is about religious freedom. Phillips also asserts that he would gladly serve members of the LGBT community; he simply draws a line at participating in a gay wedding ceremony by providing the cake.
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/AmberLaneRoberts
Publication date: September 8, 2017