Five big takeaways from the religious groups weighing in on the gay wedding cake before the Supreme Court.
In 2012, engaged couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig needed a cake.
The Colorado couple went to Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, to commission a custom wedding cake. Phillips, however, refused, citing his Christian faith, which he said prevented him from what he considered to be endorsing a same-sex wedding. Mullins and Craig filed a complaint to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, since anti-LGBTQ discrimination is considered a violation of the state’s civil rights law. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission sided with the couple and ordered Phillips to both sell cakes to all couples, regardless of sex, and to provide training to all staff to ensure compliance.
But Phillips has taken his case all the way to the Supreme Court, which will hear the case on Wednesday. He will argue that he should have the right to discriminate in accordance with his religious faith.
It’s tempting to view the case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, as a clear-cut issue of LGBTQ rights versus simple bigotry. But as religious (and secular) organizations present amicus briefs for the Supreme Court to consider, their arguments both for and against the legality of Phillips’s actions show the complexities involved in the case.
Ultimately, the briefs argue, this isn’t solely a case about LGBTQ rights, or “religious liberty” as a license to discriminate. It is also a case about the limits of free conscience, about artistic expression, and about when — or whether — religious beliefs should be confined to the pews (or synagogue, or mosque), or whether they must by definition find expression in the public sphere. Regardless of your opinion about Masterpiece Cakeshop, or Jack Phillips, the case