FFRF opposes Colorado discrimination

FFRF has signed on to an amicus brief in support of a gay couple refused a wedding cake by a Colorado bakery owner. While it doesn’t usually get involved with non-Establishment Clause issues, FFRF strongly opposes redefining “religious freedom” to include the right to discriminate.
Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, refused to make a cake for David Mullins and Charlie Craig for their 2012 wedding reception. “I’m a follower of Jesus Christ so you can say it’s a religious belief, but I believe that the bible teaches that that’s not an OK thing,” said Phillips.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado brought a case on the couple’s behalf. The state Civil Rights Commission ruled in May 2014 that the business violated state anti-discrimination laws, ordering the bakery to change its policy. The bakery’s appeal sits at the Colorado Court of Appeals.

FFRF joined Americans United for Separation of Church and State’s amicus brief, written by AU Legal Director Ayesha Khan.

The order telling Phillips to stop discriminating does not violate his rights to free speech and free exercise of religion, the brief argues. Cakes are made to order for customers, who commission them for their own enjoyment, “not because they want to assist the bakery in expressing itself.”

Requiring the bakery to make cakes for gay couples doesn’t force the business to proclaim its approval of gays, notes the brief. A business might serve gay people “because it wishes to increase its revenue by serving as many customers as possible, because it values same-sex marriages as much as straight couples’ marriages, because it did not inquire about its customers’ sexual orientations and does not consider that information relevant to its business, or because it simply wishes to follow applicable state antidiscrimination laws.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation