Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Supreme Court takes on new clash of gay rights, religion

Sandy Vega | 27 June, 2017, 06:24

Both the state civil rights commission and Colorado courts have ruled in the couple's favor, saying that Phillips' religious beliefs do not trump the state's public accommodation laws. The Court had previously avoided ruling on similar cases, but as more states have passed anti-discrimination laws the number of similar cases has only increased.

I'm on the road today, departing shortly on a flight to Munich, and then connecting on to Bulgaria tomorrow (long story-I'll try to post updates when I get internet access), but I'm keeping an eye out for Supreme Court news, especially the hoped-for retirement announcement of Justice Kennedy. The Supreme Court's ruling should help resolve tension that's been brewing since the high court legalized same-sex marriage two years ago.

Another piece of LGBTQ-related news to come out of the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday: A ruling in favor of same-sex couples was handed down in the case of Pavan v. Smith, which concluded that states can not legally treat same-sex couples different from their heterosexual counterparts when it comes to issuing birth certificates to their children.

Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips informed the couple that, because of his religious beliefs, it was his standard business practice to refuse to provide cakes for same-sex weddings. The men were going to be married in MA and they wanted the cake shop to bake a cake for their reception which was to be held in Colorado.

Jack Phillips has responded to the state sanctions against his religious belief by deciding to discontinue making wedding cakes for anycustomer.

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Baker Jack Phillips is challenging a Colorado law that says he was wrong to have turned away a same-sex couple who wanted a cake to celebrate their 2012 wedding.

Phillips appealed the case and lost again in 2015.

In March, the Texas Supreme Court heard arguments in the case, after initially refusing to hear it on appeal, which had allowed the benefits to continue. On the other hand, we have the 14 Amendment's mandate for the "equal protection of the law", along with the general principles of American politics about equality and equal individual rights. In 2014, the justices declined to revisit a New Mexico Supreme Court decision that found that a photographer violated a state civil rights law when she declined to photograph a lesbian couple's commitment ceremony. After Mullins and Craig won, the Colorado Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal.

The baker from a suburb of Denver argues he did not turn away the gay couple in 2012 because they were gay, but because their marriage violated his religious belief. The Supreme Court's next term begins in October. Some voices on the traditionalist sidelines have urged the Court's conservative wing to wage rhetorical war against Obergefell and Windsor so as to set up an eventual overruling of those decisions.

"It could extend to other types of discrimination as well, if we start using the standard that someone has a personal religious objection to providing services to a whole class of people", Burns said.

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