Last week was the two year anniversary of the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case, which legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. The Supreme Court chose that day to announce that they would hear the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. This is the case involving the baker that refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU), said:
“The owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop can’t treat some people like second-class citizens because of his religion. With the eyes of the nation and history watching, the Supreme Court now has the opportunity to join lower courts in affirming that religious freedom does not grant a business owner license to harm others.”
Hopefully, the court will conclude the same thing that the lower courts did: the business shouldn’t be allowed to use their religious beliefs to discriminate against people.
In 2012, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, refused to bake a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins. The couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission because the bakery violated a Colorado law that prohibits businesses from discriminating against customers based on their sexual orientation.
The AU wrote in a brief:
“Antidiscrimination statutes like Colorado’s do not burden or restrain business owners’ symbolic speech. Neither the act of accepting or turning away customers nor furnishing baked goods and other similar products to customers is the kind of activity deemed worthy of symbolic-speech protection under existing First Amendment doctrine.”
The court of appeals agreed and found that the bakery was guilty of discrimination. The Colorado Supreme Court refused to hear the case, so the bakery appealed to the United States Supreme Court. The AU made a similar argument in the case of the State of Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers. They ruled that a florist could not discriminate against a same-sex couple.
Featured image via Twitter.