Will Supreme Court Let Us Have Our Cake?

Supreme Court of the United States

One other possible result that emerged from the argument is that the justices could return the case to the Colorado commission for reconsideration if the court finds its first decision was tainted by the religious bias of a commissioner. (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.

The case, Pidgeon v. Turner, involves the question of whether the city of Houston was within its rights to extend health care and life insurance benefits to the spouses of LGBTQ city employees, just as it does for their heterosexual co-workers.

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments today in Masterpiece Cakeshop versus Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case that will determine if Jack Phillips - the owner of a Lakewood bakery - was justified in refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because of his faith. ABC News reports that Kennedy has expressed sympathy for both sides of the case: He said that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission did not appear to be "tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips' religious beliefs", but also noted that ruling in Phillips' favor could lead to shops putting up signs like "We do not bake cakes for gay weddings".

"Tolerance is meaningful in society", Kennedy said.

"So, the jeweler?" Justice Elena Kagan asked. "I don't feel like we requested a bit of workmanship, or for him to create an impression, we essentially approached him for a cake, and he denied that to us just due to our identity". "It's not about refusing business", she said. He serves all people, but can't express all messages or celebrate all events. As Phillips put it, he declined to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because "using his God-given talents to promote same-sex marriage would go against his religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman".

Yes, Cole said, "if they've provided the same services to couples who are straight".

As anyone might expect, Mullins and Craig see the case through an altogether extraordinary focal point: separation.

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Phillips, 61, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, is fighting for the rights of "creative artists" to choose what they will sell.

"Our clients in the Masterpiece case have already felt the stinging harm of being turned away from a business simply because of who they are, a harm that no one should ever have to endure", said James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's LGBT and HIV Project. "We were publicly humiliated for who we were".

All those issues were raised in court by lawyers representing the baker and the Trump administration on one side, and the gay couple and Colorado on the other.

Inside the packed courtroom, the liberal justices peppered Kristen Waggoner, Phillips' lawyer, and Francisco with questions about how to draw a line to accommodate Phillips without eviscerating laws that require businesses that are open to the public to serve all customers. While she argued that the free exercise clause forbids the commission from targeting Phillips "and like-minded believers for punishment", she reserved the bulk of her brief for the free speech clause, perhaps targeting Kennedy, who has at times shown an expansive view of free speech. The city appealed the case, which was denied by the US Supreme Court.

Some 20 states, dozens of members of Congress and Christian lobbyist groups have thrown their weight behind the baker.

Protesters on both sides filled the sidewalk in front of the court shortly before the start of the argument.


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