Written by Don Byrd
Tomorrow, Tuesday, December 5, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a highly watched case that could impact how the law treats requests for religious exemptions from nondiscrimination laws. In Masterpiece Cakeshop, the plaintiff Jack Phillips, a cakemaker, argues he should not be required to provide a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding reception, even though Colorado law prohibits publicly accessible businesses from engaging in discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. His right to free speech and religious freedom, he claims, protects him being forced to create a cake in support of same-sex marriage, which he objects to on religious grounds.
The Baptist Joint Committee filed a brief urging the Court to reject Phillips’ religious freedom argument because the aims of religious freedom are furthered by such nondiscrimination laws, which protect against religious discrimination as well.
For more background on the religious liberty implications of the case and the BJC’s perspective, I heartily recommend their new resource page on the case, which includes a link to the brief, columns by General Counsel Holly Hollman on the case, and an extremely helpful podcast featuring Hollman and BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler discussing the religious liberty issues of Masterpiece Cakeshop in detail.
For more, see the BJC”s Masterpiece Cakeshop resource page.