The Trump administration has thrown its support behind a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. That case, to determine if First Amendment or 14th Amendment rights were violated, will be heard in the Supreme Court’s upcoming session next month.
In 2012, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips of Lakewood, Colorado, refused to bake a wedding cake for David Mullins and Charlie Craig because he does not support same-sex marriage. A Colorado court eventually found that Phillips violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws by refusing service to the couple and rejected his argument that the laws conflicted with his First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
The case mirrors similar court battles across the country where business owners have denied service to customers based on sexual orientation by claiming that performing services would violate their religious beliefs. The U.S. Supreme Court determined in January that it would hear the case.
The Department of Justice filed a brief with the Supreme Court on Thursday, according to the Washington Post, arguing that the government could not require Phillips to use his skills as a baker to make something that conflicts with his religious convictions.
Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights in a manner akin to the governmental intrusion in Hurley [a case in which the courts ruled that the state government could not require protesters to include other groups whose message was contrary to their own]. Colorado has not offered, and could not reasonably offer, a sufficient justification for that compulsion here.
The DOJ’s arguments represent yet another step by the Trump Administration to roll back protections for LGBTQ individuals. In recent weeks president Trump announced plans to block transgender Americans from serving in the military and argued that federal civil rights laws do not protect gay employees from discrimination.
While cake may seem relatively benign, it has long been used both as a political distraction and a tool for protest.
• In Major Supreme Court Case, Justice Dept. Sides With Baker Who Refused to Make Wedding Cake for Gay Couple [WaPo]
• Supreme Court to Hear Anti-LGBT Bakery Case [E]
• The Owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop Says He'll Close Before Selling Wedding Cake to Gay Couples [Eater Denver]
• This Buttercream Kills Fascists [E]