(UPI) — The Supreme Court on Monday said it will hear an appeal from a Colorado baker who lost a discrimination case for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Lower courts ruled Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips violated Colorado’s public accommodations law that bans refusing services to customers based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.
The case began in 2012 when David Mullins and Charlie Craig wanted to purchase a cake from Phillips for their wedding in Massachusetts. The couple filed a discrimination complaint after Phillips refused service.
Phillips then filed an appeal suing the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, arguing the Constitution’s First Amendment overrides the state public accommodations law. After Phillips’ unsuccessful appeals, the Supreme Court justices will now decide whether the Colorado law violates the Constitution by compelling Phillips to create something he argues is against his religious beliefs.
A Colorado appeals court in 2015 ruled against Phillips, arguing his company would “not convey a message supporting same-sex marriages merely by abiding by the law and serving its customers equally.”
Phillips’s lawyers argue that while Phillips would service gay and lesbian clients, he can use his “artistic talents to promote only messages that align with his religious beliefs.”
“He declines lucrative business by not creating goods that contain alcohol or cakes celebrating Halloween and other messages his faith prohibits, such as racism, atheism, and any marriage not between one man and one woman,” Phillips’s lawyers wrote in a Supreme Court brief.
The brief also said Craig and Mullins could purchase a wedding cake from another bakery. In a separate brief, the couple’s lawyers rejected the proposal.
“It is no answer to say that Mullins and Craig could shop somewhere else for their wedding cake, just as it was no answer in 1966 to say that African-American customers could eat at another restaurant,” the lawyers wrote.
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