Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, lost lower court rulings, which said he violated state law by refusing service to customers based on their sexual orientation. The state court had ruled that refusing to serve the couple violated the state's public accommodations law, which bans such discrimination.
"All hardworking people, including those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer, should be treated fairly and equally under the law", said Laura "Pinky" Reinsch, political director for the gay rights group One Colorado.
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The court clearly wrestled with the cake shop case, having relisted it for every weekly conference since January before finally deciding to take it up during the last week of the term.
"The constitution guarantees me the right to practice my faith, my religion, anywhere, any time", Phillips said in 2015.
The high court decision overturned an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling, which supported local officials' refusal to list both same-sex spouses on the official document. "Masterpiece does not convey a message supporting same-sex marriages merely by abiding by the law and serving its customers equally", the court said. The couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, had already gotten married in MA, but they were holding a reception in Colorado.
Phillips' argument that the First Amendment protected his right to deny the gay couple the cake "easily can open the floodgates of religiously motivated discrimination", Pizer wrote.
Whether the Supreme Court rules in favor of the gay couple as the Colorado courts have will make it one of the more interesting cases in Washington. This allows the Foundation to file a brief before the court even though it is not party to the case.
The Colorado case could settle challenges from at least a half-dozen other artists in the wedding industry who are challenging laws in other states requiring them to produce work for same-sex ceremonies.