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Supreme Court Hears Case of Colorado Baker Jack Phillips

Photo Credit- Mathew Staver for U.S.A Today

Photo Credit- Mathew Staver for U.S.A Today

Peter Haynes

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The case of Coloradan baker Jack Phillips is causing a Supreme Court struggle between religious freedoms and LGBT rights. Mr. Phillips, the head baker of Denver bakery Masterpiece Cake Shops was cited on a state anti-discrimination law and has since taken his case to the Supreme Court to be appealed. He was cited for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. 

In 2012, a same-sex couple came into Mr. Phillip’s bakery and asked him to make a cake for their wedding. “The conversation was fairly short,” Philips told CNN. “I went over and greeted them. We sat down at the desk where I had my wedding books open.” The men told Phillips they wanted a cake to celebrate their planned wedding, which would be performed in another state. Phillips said he knew right away that he could not create the product they were looking for without violating his faith.”The Bible says, ‘In the beginning there was male and female,'” Phillips said. He offered to make any other baked goods for the men, “At which point they both stormed out and left.” 

Mr. Phillips said that he knew when he opened his bakery in 1993 he would refuse to make certain baked goods for people because of his religious beliefs. He has already refused to make Halloween cakes for many people because of his beliefs. “I can’t follow two masters, and I need to serve just one: Jesus Christ,” Mr. Phillips told The Washington Times.

Kristen K. Waggoner, Phillips’ lawyer, has argued that creating a cake is his artistic expression and the First Amendment guarantees him the right to decline to make wedding cakes that celebrate marriages that are in conflict with his religious beliefs. She argues he is protected by two different parts of the First Amendment, religious exercise and free speech.

The defense will also be banking  on the fact that that the Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage included a statement in the majority opinion from Justice Anthony M. Kennedy that the First Amendment protects religious people who may “advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”

Unsurprisingly, the couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, sees this case from a different perspective. They believe this case is bigger than just them and is now about same-sex couples being treated equally at all times and not being discriminated against. The couple says that they do not think that the cake is artistic expression, but was a simple good that they were denied because of who they are. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing the couple in the case.

The Supreme Court will be coming back with a ruling on the case soon. If Phillips’ citation stands then he will face prison time and a hefty fine. If the justices happen to come back with a not guilty ruling for Phillips this will set a new precedent regarding court cases with discrimination against the LGBT community.

 

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Supreme Court Hears Case of Colorado Baker Jack Phillips