The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the case of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
In 2012, Denver-based Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips refused to consider baking a cake for Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig. The men married in Massachusetts and wanted to buy a cake from Phillips for their Denver reception. Phillips said that serving the couple would violate his religious faith. Colorado at the time recognized gay and lesbian couples with civil unions, not marriage.
The couple sued, saying that Phillips' faith does not give him a right to discriminate, and a Colorado court found that Phillips had discriminated against the men under Colorado law. After the Colorado Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal, Phillips turned to the nation's highest court, arguing that the First Amendment protects his religious rights.
“The constitution guarantees me the right to practice my faith, my religion, anywhere, any time,” Phillips said in 2015.
Charlie Craig said in a statement that he and his husband were “disappointed that the courts continue debating the simple question of whether of whether LGBT people deserve to be treated like everyone else” and hoped that their “case helps ensure that no one has to experience being turned away simply because of who they are.”
Representing the couple is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“The law is squarely on David and Charlie’s side because when businesses are open to the public, they’re supposed to be open to everyone,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT Project. “While the right to one’s religious beliefs is fundamental, a license to discriminate is not. Same-sex couples like David and Charlie deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else, and we’re ready to take that fight all the way to the Supreme Court.”