US Supreme Court appears divided in 'gay wedding cake' case
Dec 06 2017
"With all eyes on tomorrow's oral arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshopreligious exemptions case, the Supreme Court has just let an alarming ruling by the Texas Supreme Court stand which plainly undercuts the rights of married same-sex couples", Ellis said.
(While same-sex marriage had been legally recognized in MA since May 2004, it wasn't until 2014 that Colorado legalized same-sex unions.) However, when Phillips learned the two men wanted him to create a cake to celebrate a same-sex union, he refused, citing his religious belief that marriage should exist only between a man and a woman.
Craig Konnoth, an associate professor at the University of Colorado Law School, says the court's decision could have broad implications for anti-discrimination laws in Colorado and across the nation.
The Supreme Court will take up a standout amongst the most earth shattering instances of the term on Tuesday as it considers contentions from a Colorado cook who declined to influence a cake to praise a same-sex to couple's marriage since he trusts that God composed marriage to be between a man and a lady.
The Trump administration is supporting Phillips in his argument that he can't be forced to create a cake that violates his religious beliefs. In fact, the case could prove significant in determining how and where discrimination laws, freedom of expression, and religious liberty intersect.
Supporters of both sides gathered for days outside the court for the chance to watch the session and were out in force on Tuesday.
"We were simply turned away because of who we were", Mullins said.
David Cole, an attorney for Mullins, a 33-year-old poet and musician, and Craig, a 37-year-old interior designer, said he respected the sincerity of Phillips' convictions. Phillips' lawyer claims that the baker is an artist and should not be forced to express what the government dictates.
But later he said Colorado had been "neither tolerant nor respectful" of the religious views of Denver-area baker Jack Phillips. According to CNN, while Phillips refused to make Craig and Mullins a wedding cake, he did offer to make them other baked goods.
"The question is whether a shop like Masterpiece Cakeshop can put up a sign in its window saying, 'Wedding cakes for heterosexual couples only, '" ACLU deputy legal director Louise Melling said.
Thus far, Craig and Mullins have won at the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and the state Court of Appeals.
Lawyers for Jack Phillips relied on two parts of the First Amendment - free exercise and free speech - to make his case, and at times Kennedy seemed torn during the lively and sometimes rapid-fire arguments. While that case was going through the state court system, Obergefell (the U.S. Supreme Court case making gay marriage the law of the land) happened. It follows a legal analysis similar to that originally proposed by Banzhaf, who suggested that anti-discrimination statutes prevent discrimination based upon the characteristics of a potential customer (e.g., being gay), but not upon a refusal to send a message related to that characteristic (e.g., preparing a same-sex wedding cake).
SCOTUS rejected an appeal of an earlier Texas Supreme Court decision, which undermined marriage equality by denying same-sex couples the rights and privileges they supposedly were entitled to following the landmark 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision.