By Ken Camp, Baptist Standard
Below is an excerpt. Read the full article on Baptist Standard’s website.
WASHINGTON—Does a Christian baker have the First Amendment right to refuse to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple? It depends on which Baptists you ask.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Dec. 5 regarding Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case centers on a Colorado commercial baker with a religious objection to same-sex marriage who refused to create and sell a decorated cake to a gay couple for their wedding reception. The baker asserts his sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage should afford him an exemption to Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act.
In contrast, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ and others jointly filed a brief with the Supreme Court Oct. 30 arguing Colorado’s public accommodation law as applied in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case “strikes the right balance between respect for religious liberty and the protection of individuals’ right to participate in the commercial marketplace free from discrimination.”
“There may be more challenging cases, including in the context of same-sex marriage,” in which the parties filing the brief “might differ on whether a religious exemption is warranted, but this is not such a case,” it states.
“Free exercise law provides many protections for the religious beliefs and actions of individuals and institutions that oppose same-sex marriage for religious reasons,” said Holly Hollman, general counsel for the Baptist Joint Committee.
“But it does not provide a right for commercial vendors to refuse to sell goods and services to certain people in violation of a nondiscrimination law by simply asserting a faith-based reason.”