Latest News 2017 November DOJ Recommends Supreme Court Honor Baker's Case

DOJ Recommends Supreme Court Honor Baker's Case

In the first week of September, the Department of Justice filed an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court to side with the baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple. An amicus curiae is an official legal recommendation by a party who is not directly involved in the case but has an interest in the outcome. It's a lawful attempt by the White House to influence the court's decision.

The Colorado-based baker, who owned and operated Masterpiece Cakeshop, was asked by a same-sex couple to bake a cake for their wedding in July 2012. He refused, citing his religious objection to the ceremony. The baker was then accused of violating Colorado's anti-discrimination law, which compels businesses offering "public accommodation" to not refuse service on the basis of sexual orientation, among other things.

However, the brief cites that the law would have violated the baker's First Amendment rights. They specifically cite the fact that making the cake would have constituted a form of expression, and compelling him to bake the cake would mean forcing the baker to make an expression against his will.

The brief also cites that the timing of his refusal (July 2012) was prior to the time gay marriage became legal in the state. As a result, there wasn't sufficient warrant for the state to find the baker in violation of the law, as the ceremony itself wasn't a state-sanctioned event—not enough to override the baker's First Amendment rights, as affirmed by the brief.

Another aspect of the case the brief highlights is that this case is not about discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but forced participation in a ceremony to which the baker was opposed.

The case was tried in the Court of Appeals, where the baker was found guilty of discrimination (and the law was not found to be in violation of the First Amendment). The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, which could potentially rule an anti-discrimination statute to be unconstitutional—at least in regard to the baker's right to refuse to bake a cake on the grounds of sexual orientation.

For more news regarding the rights and well-being of same-sex couples, check out our blogs here:

Categories: Same Sex Couples