USA: Supreme Court to hear case on baker’s alleged discrimination against gay couple based on religious beliefs; govt. backs religious beliefs argument

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7 September 2017

In major Supreme Court case, Justice Dept. sides with baker who refused to make wedding cake for gay couple

Author: Robert Barnes, Washington Post (USA)

In a major upcoming Supreme Court case that weighs equal rights with religious liberty, the…administration…sided with a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

The Department of Justice…filed a brief on behalf of baker Jack Phillips, who was found to have violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to created a cake to celebrate the marriage…Phillips said he doesn’t create wedding cakes for same-sex couples because it would violate his religious beliefs.

The government agreed…that…“Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights,”…

…The DOJ also has taken the stance that gay workers are not entitled to job protections under federal anti-discrimination laws…Federal courts are split on that issue…

…The civil rights commission and a Colorado court rejected Phillips’ argument that forcing him to create a cake violated his First Amendment rights of freedom of expression and exercise of religion.

The court said the baker “does not convey a message supporting same-sex marriages merely by abiding by the law.”

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14 August 2017

The spurned gay couple, the Colorado baker and the years spent waiting for the Supreme Court

Author: Robert Barnes, Washington Post (USA)

…Almost a year passed from the date the court was first asked to review a dispute between a gay couple and a baker [Jack Phillips] who refused to make them a wedding cake and the justices’ announcement that they would do just that.

…[F]lorists, bakers, photographers and others have claimed that being forced to offer their wedding services to same-sex couples violates their rights of religious liberty and free expression.

Courts have routinely turned down the business owners…saying that state anti-discrimination laws require businesses that are open to the public to treat all potential customers equally.

…“Every step of the way here in Colorado, the courts and commissions have found that Jack Phillips violated Colorado law…

...“As a creative professional and a businessman, I shouldn’t have to give up my freedom – my religion – when I open a bakery.” [said the baker],

The couple then learned that Colorado’s public accommodations law specifically prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation, and they filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

…Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission [was] accepted…and scheduled…for oral argument in the fall…

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