Hayden’s List has reported on many instances of business owners refusing to transact with customers because they are members of the LGBTQ community. These business owners cite their religious beliefs as the reasoning. Several lawsuits have been filed but none have made it to the Supreme Court until now.
Back in 2012, Charles Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado to design their wedding cake. Phillips claims he politely declined because of his religious beliefs.
Craig and Mullins filed a complaint with the state civil rights commission. Phillips was charged with violating Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, which says businesses open to the public may not deny service to customers based on their race, religion, sex or sexual orientation.
Phillips’ lawyers described him as a “cake artist” who will “not create cakes celebrating any marriage that is contrary to his understanding of biblical teaching.” They also said he has refused to make cakes to celebrate Halloween or created baked goods that have an “anti-American or anti-family themes” or carry profane messages.
The Colorado court ruled against Phillips and ordered him to provide wedding cakes on an equal basis for same-sex couples. “They said you have to create cakes for same-sex couples, so he removed himself from the market. He chose to stop making wedding cakes,” said Jeremy Tedesco, a lawyer for the Alliance Defending Freedom, who appealed on Phillips’ behalf.
This appeal has now made its way to the Supreme Court. The case will be heard in the fall, and it could have a wide impact in the states that prohibit discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation.No federal law requires businesses to serve all customers without regard to their sexual orientation, but 21 states have “public accommodations” laws that prohibit such discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Two years ago, the justices turned down a similar appeal from a wedding photographer in New Mexico. Since then, the issue has arisen in several other states whose laws forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation.
, Charles Craig
, David Mullins
, Jack Phillips
, Masterpiece Cakeshop
, Supreme Court