US Supreme Court appears divided in 'gay wedding cake' case

06 December, 2017, 01:06 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
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The Supreme Court justices appeared split along ideological lines except for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who lobbed both parties with tough questions on Tuesday, in a case testing the limits of gay rights and First Amendment freedoms.

Because same-sex marriage was not yet legal in Colorado in 2012, Justice Samuel Alito noted, Craig and Mullins could not have obtained a marriage license where they lived or gotten a local official to marry them. "I would not like to utilize my aesthetic gifts to make something that conflicted with my Christian confidence", he said in a meeting, noticing that he has additionally declined to make cakes to observe Halloween.

They fear that if the Supreme Court ultimately sides with Phillips, it will diminish its landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

The commission ruled that Phillips violated the state's anti-discrimination law when he refused to make a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins. Kennedy described comments made by one of the seven Colorado commissioners in the case as hostile to religion.

"When I hire a baker, when I hire someone to make a billboard, I'm not hiring them to give their speech, I'm hiring them so that my speech can be expressed", he says.

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One other possible result that emerged from the argument is that the justices could return the case to the Colorado commission for reconsideration if the court finds its first decision was tainted by the religious bias of a commissioner. She said the Supreme Court's compelled speech doctrine "forbids the commission from demanding that artists design custom expression that conveys ideas they deem objectionable". In 2015 the US Supreme Court overturned the ban on same-sex marriage. The justices spent a large part of the time worrying about where the lines would be drawn if Phillips is allowed to sidestep same-sex weddings.

She cited the First Amendment in defense of Phillips.

"I serve all who walk through my doors, people from all walks of life", Phillips told Colorado Public Radio.

Waggoner contended that a man seeing one of Phillips' custom wedding cakes - his "aesthetic articulation" - would "comprehend that it celebrates and communicates bolster for the couple's marriage".

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

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The couple is being spoken to in court by the American Civil Liberties Union.

"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. "The inquiry, rather, is whether the Constitution gifts organizations open to general society the privilege to disregard laws against segregation in the business commercial center if the business happens to offer a creative item". The answer, Cole contends, is "no".

Justice Stephen Breyer fretted about a ruling that could "undermine every civil rights law from the year 2".

Twenty other states and the District of Columbia likewise expressly prohibit places of public accommodation from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The Trump organization sides with Phillips for the situation, contending that it falls "inside the little arrangement of uses of substance nonpartisan laws that legitimacy elevated examination" from the courts. Phillips' lawyer claims that the baker is an artist and should not be forced to express what the government dictates.

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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.

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