ACLU rejects Christian baker Jack Phillips’ free speech claim: ‘This is not about the cake’
The American Civil Liberties Union told the Supreme Court on Monday the First Amendment doesn’t give a Christian baker the right to discriminate against a same-sex couple by refusing to bake them a wedding cake.
The ACLU is representing Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins, a same-sex couple, who brought a civil rights complaint against Jack Phillips, a Christian baker, who refused to bake them a wedding cake due to his religious beliefs.
“This is not the first time a business open to the public has sought to avoid an anti-discrimination law by invoking the First Amendment,” the ACLU’s brief states. “In every prior case, this Court has rejected such claims, whether framed as involving the freedom of expression, association, or religion.”
The lower courts ruled the baker violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to create the wedding cake. Colorado’s law makes it illegal for businesses to discriminate against people based on sexual orientation, race or religion.
But Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious liberty law firm representing the baker, appealed to the Supreme Court, saying he’s a cake artist and the freedom of speech gives him the right to refuse creating a message that contradicts his faith.
“This is not about the cake. Charlie and Dave walked into the Cakeshop and were turned away because of who they are,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director at the ACLU. “The stakes could not be higher. A ruling against them at the Supreme Court will not just encourage other businesses to engage in similarly discriminatory practices: It will enshrine a constitutional right to discriminate.”