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Discrimination or religious liberty? High court to hear bakery case

Discrimination or religious liberty? High court to hear bakery case

Discrimination or religious liberty? High court to hear bakery case

"A loss at the Supreme Court could open the door to many forms of discrimination that have always been outlawed in our society", TIME reported Mullins said.

David Cole, an attorney for Mullins, a 33-year-old poet and musician, and Craig, a 37-year-old interior designer, said he respected the sincerity of Phillips' convictions.

However, the Court, rather than ruling in favor of religious liberty, or alternatively in favor of gay rights, might reach a compromise result similar to the recent ones in Kentucky and in Colorado which balanced the two apparently competing interests, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

The justices left intact a June ruling by the Republican-dominated Texas Supreme Court that revived a lawsuit backed by a conservative group aimed at blocking Houston from offering such benefits.

Supporters of both sides gathered for days outside the court for the chance to watch the session and were out in force on Tuesday. While she contended that the free exercise proviso disallows the commission from focusing on Phillips "and similarly invested adherents for discipline", she saved the heft of her brief for the free discourse statement, maybe focusing on potential swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has on occasion demonstrated an extensive perspective of free discourse. A victory for Phillips would not only harm people of faith, but also those who value our nation's commitment to religious pluralism and civic equality. "The hair stylist?. The makeup artist?"

No, Waggoner said, "because it is not speech".

"You have a view that a cake can be speech because it involves great skill and artistry", she said. "A custom wedding cake is not an ordinary baked good; its function is more communicative and artistic than utilitarian", Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued. "That's what everybody is trying to get to".

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The Trump administration sides with Phillips in the case, arguing that it falls "within the small set of applications of content-neutral laws that merit heightened scrutiny" from the courts.

As a lawyer for Phillips made his free speech argument on behalf of the baker's "artistic expression", Justice Elena Kagan and other liberals pounced, asking where they were supposed to draw a coherent line designating which business owners could qualify for an exemption from anti-discrimination laws. That struck him as unfair, he said. Both sides agree that a ruling in favor of Phillips would also open the door to claims from others who engage in professional services - florists, for example - that their religious liberty exempts them from public accommodation laws applicable to other businesses.

Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker moved to extend the benefits to couples legally married in other states, after the ruling in USA v. Windsor finding that parts of the Defense of Marriage Act denying government recognition of legal same-sex marriages were unconstitutional. The couple said the refusal amounts to discrimination.

Colorado native Neil Gorsuch, taking part in the most important gay rights case since he joined the Supreme Court in April, asked Cole whether a baker who made a cake shaped like a red cross to celebrate relief efforts would have to make the same cake for the Ku Klux Klan.

The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 16-111, will be decided by late June.

To that end, nearly all of the court's most important religious liberty cases have involved claims made by religious minorities. "It can't discriminate against certain members of the public, and that's what happened in this case". Because non-discrimination laws, such as the Colorado law at issue in this case, often play an indispensable role in protecting the rights of religious communities.

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