Monday, 11 December, 2017

Supreme Court deeply divided over gay wedding cake

Mayor Sylvester Turner speaking at the World Aids Day luncheon at the Hilton Post Oak The US Supreme Court Just Rejected a Texas Case About Gay Marriage Rights
Lillian Steele | 06 December, 2017, 01:06

It should be a cakewalk for civil rights activists, but the Supreme Court, being the Supreme Court, is ensuring that the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is anything but as it begins to hear arguments on one of the most important government civil rights decisions up for debate this year. 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. According to CNN, while Phillips refused to make Craig and Mullins a wedding cake, he did offer to make them other baked goods.

Phillips then took his case to the Supreme Court and the justices agreed to take it up after mulling it for several weeks.

Phillips at that point took his case to the Supreme Court and the judges consented to take it up in the wake of reflecting on it for a little while.

In court papers, Kristen K. Waggoner, a lawyer from the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom who is representing Phillips, argued that the First Amendment guarantees him the right to decline to make wedding cakes that celebrate marriages that are in conflict with his religious beliefs.

Flash forward to 2012, when same sex marriage was not yet legal in Colorado, but two men walked into the bakery.

"This case is about more than us, and it's not about cakes", Mullins said in an interview.

In one of the most animated oral arguments the high court has held, justices on both sides peppered four lawyers with questions to illustrate how their decision might affect other merchants, such as chefs and florists, and other minority groups, such as Catholics and African Americans.

The high court's action set no nationwide precedent but may give a boost to conservative legal efforts to limit the effects of its decision in the case Obergefell v. Hodges that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to gay couples under the U.S. Constitution.

On the other hand, Kennedy criticized the Colorado Civil Rights Commission that found Phillips violated the state's anti-discrimination law. The case centers around a dispute between baker Jack Phillips and two men he refused to create a custom wedding cake for.

Something troubling just happened at the U.S. Supreme Court today. Kennedy asked the baker's attorney.

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.

"You have a view that a cake can be speech because it involves great skill and artistry", she said.

As anyone might expect, Mullins and Craig see the case through an altogether extraordinary focal point: separation. "It's about the right of gay people to receive equal service".

But Craig and Mullins have argued that a cake is just a cake, and not a form of artistic expression.

"In essence, the bakery seeks a constitutional right to hang a sign in its shop window proclaiming, 'Wedding Cakes for Heterosexuals Only, '" the ACLU's David D. Cole wrote in court briefs. "That cake expresses a message".

To refuse to sell any t-shirt to a person simply because he is gay would violate the statute, whereas refusing to print a t-shirt which promote a gay lifestyle or activities, for anyone regardless of sexual orientation, is not illegal discrimination.

A few onlookers and place holders started holding up in line last Friday to secure one of the uncommon seats open to the general population in the lofty court.

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