Supreme Court takes on new clash of gay rights, religion

Mullins and Craig filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which charged Phillips with violating the state's anti-discrimination law. The case presents the issue "whether applying Colorado's public accommodations law to compel the petitioner to create expression that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage violates the free speech or free exercise clauses of the First Amendment".

The case had been on the Supreme Court's list for potential cases since September, and the long delay had prompted speculation about what was going on behind the scenes. The Supreme Court's ruling should help resolve tension that's been brewing since the high court legalized same-sex marriage two years ago. Phillips said that serving the couple would violate his religious faith.

This case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, has been going on nearly half a decade.

The court announced on Monday that the justices had voted against taking up a public carry case out of California. In 2012, Colorado baker Jack Phillips refused to create a cake for a gay couple's wedding reception in MA. The couple planned to marry in MA - one of only a handful of states at the time with full and legal marriage equality - and wanted Phillips to provide the cake for the reception.

In 2015, the Colorado Court of Appeals determined that making a cake for Craig and Mullins didn't mean Phillips condoned same-sex marriage.

Jennifer Pizer, senior counsel and director of law and policy at the LGBTQ organization Lambda Legal, wrote in a blog post after the decision: "From wedding cakes and flowers to haircuts and lodging, we are seeing some business owners claiming religious rights to turn away LGBT people, ignoring that the public marketplace must be open to everyone regardless of anyone's religious beliefs".

As our Policy Report noted previous year, Cato is the only organization in the country that has gone to court to defend both one's right to marry a person of the same sex and one's right as a businessperson to join or not join as one chooses in assisting in celebrating a same-sex wedding.

Erin Andrews, former NHL player marry in Montana
The sportscaster was diagnosed with cervical cancer in September 2016 and said Stoll helped her stay strong through the battle. Erin told Health Magazine earlier this month that she plans to have children, and she's now undergoing IVF shots.

Demands for religious exemptions from civil rights laws are not new. The state sided with the couple.

Administrative Law Judge Robert N. Spencer ruled against the bakery on December 6, 2013, concluding that Phillips violated the law by declining service to the couple "because of their sexual orientation". The Colorado Court of Appeals also ruled in favor of the couple.

After all, the court is pretty well decided on this case, except for Kennedy.

Phillips and his attorney petitioned to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeals ruled he'd discriminated against a gay couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, who wanted him to write a message on a cake for their wedding in 2012.

The high courts most conservative justices - Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch - dissented, saying the lower court's decision should have been upheld.

The Obama government challenged the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that such people already have certain rights to protect them and that expanding those rights requires Congress to act with new legislation, not a court ruling.

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