Supreme Court takes on new clash of gay rights, religion


The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case on whether the owner of a Colorado cake shop can refuse to provide service to same-sex couples due to his religious beliefs about marriage.

The case concerns a Colorado cake artist who refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple claiming that to do so violated his religious liberty under the federal constitution.

In 2012, Colorado residents David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a wedding cake.

But Colorado courts ruled that the state's public accommodation law, which bans discrimination by companies offering their services to the public, did not allow Phillips to refuse the gay couple's request.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which filed an amicus brief before the Colorado Court of Appeals against Masterpiece, said in a statement on Monday that they hope the case will be used to clarify that religion can not be used to discriminate.

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Josh Blackman, a law professor at South Texas College of Law, said he was surprised the court chose to take it up and this will be a huge case next year.

The U.S. Supreme Court passed up its first chance to hear a similar case in 2014 - eight years after Elaine Huguenin and her husband, Jonathan, told a lesbian couple that their Albuquerque photo studio only worked "traditional weddings". Alliance Defending Freedom has a summary of the case here.

The justices on Monday left in place an appeals court ruling that upheld the San Diego sheriff's strict limits on issuing permits for concealed weapons. The shop owner petitioned the Colorado Supreme Court to review the case, but the court declined.

Many Coloradans in particular remember the turbulent beginnings of the 2012 court case of Craig and Mullins v. Masterpiece Cakeshop.

The brief also said Craig and Mullins could purchase a wedding cake from another bakery.

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court has ruled that churches have the same right as other charitable groups to seek state money for new playground surfaces and other non-religious needs.

Ms. Waggoner said this could be a history-making decision for the Supreme Court.

Masterpiece Cakeshop is one of a number of businesses that have been successfully sued for discriminating against gay couples.

Businesses across the nation, like Phillip's, ranging from bakeries to florists and wedding photographers, have also said being forced to serve gay couples violates their constitutional rights, citing the First Amendment.

AU's brief was filed through our Protect Thy Neighbor project, which seeks to stop religion-based discrimination against LGBTQ people and others.