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

01:35  08 september  2017
01:35  08 september  2017 Source:   MSN

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

Supreme Court justices voted to hear an appeal from the owner of a Colorado bakery who refused to create and design a wedding cake for a same-sex couple . The high court has agreed to hear a major case pitting conservative Christian beliefs against gay rights

Jack Phillips stands for a portrait near a display of wedding cakes in his Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, CO on Thursday, September 1, 2016. Phillips is one of the bakers who does not want to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples, saying it violates his religious beliefs.© Matthew Staver/For The Washington Post via Getty Images/File Jack Phillips stands for a portrait near a display of wedding cakes in his Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, CO on Thursday, September 1, 2016. Phillips is one of the bakers who does not want to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples, saying it violates his religious beliefs. In a major upcoming Supreme Court case that weighs equal rights with religious liberty, the Trump administration on Thursday sided with a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

The Department of Justice on Thursday 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 of Charlie Craig and David Mullins in 2012. Phillips said he doesn’t create wedding cakes for same-sex couples because it would violate his religious beliefs.

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The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it will hear the case of a suburban Denver baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple on faith-based grounds, in the latest religious freedom case to be considered before the nation's highest court .

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The government agreed with Phillips that his cakes are a form of expression, and he cannot be compelled to use his talents for something in which he does not believe.

“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 Jeffrey B. Wall wrote in the brief.

The DOJ’s decision to support Phillips is the latest in a series of steps the Trump administration has taken to rescind Obama administration positions favorable to gay rights and to advance new policies on the issue.

But Louise Melling, the deputy legal counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the couple, said she was taken aback by the filing.

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear an appeal from a Colorado baker with religious objections to same-sex marriage who had lost a discrimination case for refusing to create a cake to celebrate such a union.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide a major case involving a Christian baker in Colorado who declined to make a wedding cake for two men. The court took up an appeal by Jack Phillips, a baker who runs Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, just outside Denver, of a state court

“Even in an administration that has already made its hostility” toward the gay community clear, Melling said, “I find this nothing short of shocking.”

Since taking office, President Trump has moved to block transgender Americans from serving in the military and his Department of Education has done away with guidance to schools on how they should accommodate transgender students.

The DOJ also has taken the stance that gay workers are not entitled to job protections under federal anti-discrimination laws. Since 2015, the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission has taken the opposite stance, saying Title VII, the civil-rights statute that covers workers, protects against bias based on sexual orientation.

Federal courts are split on that issue, and the Supreme Court this term might take up the issue.

Indeed, lawyers for Jameka Evans, who claims she was fired by Georgia Regional Hospital because of her sexual orientation and “nonconformity with gender norms of appearance and demeanor,” on Thursday asked justices to take her case.

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The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it will hear the case of a suburban Denver baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple on faith-based grounds, in the latest religious freedom case to be considered before the nation’s highest court .

And then the Supreme Court took its own sweet time. Almost a year passed from the date the court was first asked to review a dispute between a gay couple and a baker who refused to make them a wedding cake and the justices ’ announcement that they would do just that.

Citing a 1979 precedent, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit rejected her protection claims.

Taking that case, along with Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, would make the coming Supreme Court term the most important for gay rights issues since the justices voted 5 to 4 in 2015 to find a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry.

The case of Phillips, a baker in the Denver suburbs, is similar to lawsuits brought elsewhere involving florists, calligraphers and others who say providing services to same-sex weddings would violate their religious beliefs. But these objectors have found little success in the courts, which have ruled that businesses serving the public must comply with state anti-discrimination laws.

Mullins and Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in July 2012, along with Craig’s mother, to order a cake for their upcoming wedding reception. Mullins and Craig planned to marry in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriages were legal at the time, and then hold a reception in Colorado.

But Phillips refused to discuss the issue, saying his religious beliefs would not allow him to have anything to do with same-sex marriage. He said other bakeries would accommodate them.

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.”

Cake Is His ‘Art.’ So Can He Deny One to a Gay Couple? .
A Colorado case that pits a gay couple against a baker who refused to serve them will mostly center on the protections of free speech.LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Jack Phillips bakes beautiful cakes, and it is not a stretch to call him an artist. Five years ago, in a decision that has led to a Supreme Court showdown, he refused to use his skills to make a wedding cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage, saying it would violate his Christian faith and hijack his right to express himself.

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