US Supreme Court will hear homophobic baker case in December
The US Supreme Court has set a December court date for a religious baker who is seeking to undermine LGBT discrimination protections.
Jack Phillips of Colorado’s Masterpiece Cakeshop is at the centre of a case over anti-LGBT discrimination that is set to be heard by the Supreme Court.
Phillips launched a legal challenge after being found in violation of state anti-discrimination laws for refusing to serve gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig.
The baker earlier this year claimed that Jesus Christ would discriminate against gay people, and continues to insist his religion requires discrimination against gay people.
The baker refused to make a cake for the couple after he found out they were celebrating their wedding
The Supreme Court is set to weigh in on the case later this year, and it could have extreme knock-on effects for LGBT rights.
It today set a December 5 date to hear arguments in the case.
A ruling in favour of the baker could have a chilling effect on LGBT rights protections country-wide, and equality activists fear it may end up creating a license for homophobic discrimination based on religion.
The case is expected to be close, with Trump’s newly-appointed Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch considered a firm vote for the baker’s freedom to discriminiate.
The Trump administration itself has filed an amicus brief backing the freedom to discriminate.
Trump’s Justice Department claimed that a ruling against the bakery could create an “intrusion” against the First Amendment “where a public accommodations law compels someone to create expression for a particular person or entity and to participate, literally or figuratively, in a ceremony or other expressive event.”
86 Republican members of congress have also signed an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court supporting the baker’s right to discriminate.
The gay couple in the case, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, have vowed to stand up for equality.
They said: “This has always been about more than a cake. Businesses should not be allowed to violate the law and discriminate against us because of who we are and who we love.
“While we’re disappointed that the courts continue debating the simple question of whether LGBT people deserve to be treated like everyone else, we hope that our case helps ensure that no one has to experience being turned away simply because of who they are.”
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The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Colorado represent Mullins and Craig in the case.
James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT Project, said: “The law is squarely on David and Charlie’s side because when businesses are open to the public, they’re supposed to be open to everyone.
“While the right to one’s religious beliefs is fundamental, a license to discriminate is not.
“Same-sex couples like David and Charlie deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else, and we’re ready to take that fight all the way to the Supreme Court.”
The baker is defended by hardline anti-LGBT law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, which has sought to undermine LGBT rights protections in a number of states.
Though the ADF is framing the issue around a religious objection to same-sex marriage, their other cases show a much wider support for licensing anti-LGBT discrimination.