Supreme Court Accepts Case That Could Have Major Consequences For Religious Freedom And LGBTQ Rights

Excerpted from AU's Wall of Separation blog:

  Image by YinYang/Getty Images

Image by YinYang/Getty Images

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission during its next term, which begins in October. The case deals with a bakery in Lakewood, Colorado, that refuses to make cakes for the weddings of LGBTQ couples, citing the owner’s religious beliefs as justification for the refusal.

When a couple was denied service, the Colorado Civil Rights Division found that the bakery had violated the state’s nondiscrimination statute. The bakery was ordered to stop discriminating against same-sex couples. The bakery took the matter to the Colorado courts and lost. Now the U.S. Supreme Court will give it a look.

The Colorado bakery isn’t alone in making claims like this. In recent years, we’ve seen several businesses and even government clerks—remember Kim Davis in Kentucky?—insist that they have a religious-freedom right to refuse service to members of the LGBTQ community.

Religious freedom, while a crucial value in American life, grants no one the ability to injure others. That includes refusing service in a store, hotel, restaurant, or government office. We settled this principle during the Civil Rights era, and nobody should be disputing it now.

This case could be a blockbuster. Americans United’s Legal Department has closely monitored it and filed briefs in the Colorado courts. We’ll do the same before the high court, making the argument that religious freedom is not a license to discriminate.