Magazine article Church & State

AU Files Supreme Court Brief in Colo. Bakery Discrimination Case

Magazine article Church & State

AU Files Supreme Court Brief in Colo. Bakery Discrimination Case

Article excerpt

Americans United on Oct. 30 filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm that businesses such as Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado cannot use religious beliefs as justification to refuse to serve customers.

On Dec. 5, the high court will consider Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the case of Jack Phillips, a Lakewood baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a same-sex couple.

A Colorado court held that the bakery's refusal violated the state's anti-discrimination laws, which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Phillips appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming that his religious views entitle him to violate the law.

"Religious freedom is about fairness: We don't treat people differently because their beliefs are different from ours," said Richard B. Katskee, legal director of Americans United. "The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly found that the Constitution does not allow businesses to use religious beliefs as an excuse to treat some people like second-class citizens. We urge the justices to once again stand on the right side of history and advance the court's noble tradition of ensuring equality for all Americans."

The case is one of several nationwide in which wedding-related businesses are trying to claim a religiously based objection to marriage equality as justification for refusing to serve LGBTQ people. Many of these businesses, including Masterpiece, are represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Religious Right legal group. …

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