Is it ethical or even legal to deny your services to a same-sex couple who plan to tie the knot? In Colorado, a bakeshop in Lakewood refused to accommodate the request of two men in 2012.
Jack Phillips, who owns Masterpiece Cake Shop, declined the request of David Mullins and Charlie Craig for a wedding cake. The couple filed a complaint against Phillips and the case is scheduled to be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court in December 2017.
Colorado has implemented a law that penalizes discrimination against a person due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. The rules cover other services, and as Law Office of Gordon N. Shayne and other experts noted, including those from a divorce attorney in Castle Rock or any other municipality in the state.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which represents the couple, argues that Phillips should not use the concept of art as a basis for his refusal. In that case, architecture firms, theaters, jewelers, and other establishments that incorporate artistic skills in their service should also be sanctioned, if they deny their services to a person based on their sexuality.
Phillips found an ally through the Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall and Department of Justice, who asserted that the man creates art. According to a “friend of the court” brief on Phillips’ behalf, the man uses his work as a way to exercise his religion.
Religious rights groups also defended his decision, saying that the cake has nothing to do with discrimination. Instead, it refers to his freedom to deny services if it opposes his religious affiliation. The ACLU said that the Supreme Court may rule against Phillips, similar to previous cases of business owners who invoked the First Amendment to avoid accusations of discrimination.
The case further ignited a long-standing debate about the grounds for using your right to freedom of speech and exercise religious beliefs. Do you think it should be legal for a person to deny their services to a same-sex couple?