World Media

Supreme Court to rule in clash of gay, religious rights

Supreme Court to rule in clash of gay, religious rights

The justices said Monday they will consider whether a baker who objects to same-sex marriage on religious grounds can refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

The court took up an appeal by Jack Phillips, a baker who runs Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, just outside Denver, of a state court ruling that his refusal violated a Colorado anti-discrimination law.

Colorado and New Mexico are among 21 states with such laws.

Jack Phillips, the bakery's owner, informed the couple that he did not provide cakes for same-sex weddings and celebrations due to his religious beliefs.

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The U.S. Supreme Court will rule between Phillips' religious rights and the couple's right to equal treatment under the law, and whether Phillips discriminated against the couple.

Colorado's anti-discrimination law protects people on the basis of their sexual orientation.

The dispute pits two provisions of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment against each other: the guarantee of the free exercise of religion and the Establishment Clause requiring the separation of church and state. Rather than bake for same-sex weddings, he stopped making wedding cakes altogether, at a substantial revenue loss. Most recently, the court put off any decision in March. While the wedding was held in MA, where same-sex marriage had been legal since 2004, the celebration was planned for back home in Colorado.

Phillips is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has previously defended the Boy Scouts' ban on gay troop leaders, California's Prop 8 and a wedding photographer who refused to shoot a civil union.

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In its latest ruling on the rights of married same-sex couples, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled against an Arkansas law that made lesbian couples get a court order to have a second mother listed as a parent on a child's birth certificate.

The case, which will be heard in the fall, will doubtless have a massive impact on the ongoing issue. The commission chose to bring a discrimination case against the bakery, and the state's top court upheld that decision.

The Huguenins' petition to the Supreme Court was based on their freedom of speech and expression, which they interpreted as the right to decide what messages their photography conveys.

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