September 20, 2017 at 4:22 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Supreme Court to begin ‘potentially momentous’ term for LGBT rights
Jeff Zarillo, Paul Katami, Sandy Stier, Kris Perry, David Boies, Chad Griffin, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, Proposition 8, Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, Prop 8, California, Supreme Court, gay news, Washington Blade

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to have a “potentially momentous” term upon the start of its new term. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A plethora of cases related to LGBT rights are awaiting the Supreme Court after its summer recess at the end of this month, which could lead to the most monumental term for justices since the landmark 2015 ruling in favor of marriage equality nationwide.

The Supreme Court has already agreed to hear and accepted briefs in the Masterpiece Bakeshop case, which was filed by a Colorado baker asserting a First Amendment right to refuse to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples despite a state law prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination. But justices could also take up cases determining whether current federal civil rights law affords lesbian, gay and bisexual people workplace non-discrimination protections and transgender kids access to school restrooms consistent with their gender identity.

James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT and HIV project, said the upcoming term for the Supreme Court is “potentially momentous” for LGBT rights — and civil rights in general — based on the Masterpiece Cakeshop case for which his organization is defending Colorado’s non-discrimination law.

“You’ve got the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which is about whether the court’s going to recognize a constitutional right to discriminate based on people’s religion or people’s political beliefs, and if they do, that overrides civil rights law, and not just for LGBT people, but for everybody,” Esseks said. “And that’s something I think every single person in the country should be concerned about because everybody’s rights are at risk here.”

If the court takes up other LGBT cases in addition to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, Esseks said the upcoming term “will be a defining moment for LGBT rights whether our side wins the cases or loses them.”

Front-and-center among the LGBT cases, simply by virtue of the Supreme Court already agreeing to review the lawsuit, is the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. It could also have significant impact if justices deliver a ruling mandating exemption for state and local non-discrimination laws, more so if that decision isn’t contained to the baking of wedding cakes.

Supporters of Jack Phillips, who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, already filed briefs in the case earlier this month. Representing Charlie Craig and David Mullins, the same-sex couple that sought the wedding cake, and Colorado — and that  successfully sued in Colorado state courts after Phillips denied them service — is the ACLU.

Esseks said the issue presented to justices “isn’t about a cake” or business artistry but whether the court will find the baker has a constitutional right to discriminate under the First Amendment.

“It’ll sell the cake to lots of other people, but it won’t sell it to a same-sex couple, and that’s the paradigm of discrimination: No cakes for gays,” Esseks said. “What the store wants to be able to do is put up a sign over the display case for wedding cakes that says, ‘Wedding cakes for heterosexuals only.’ And just think about what the world looks like if a business can put up that sign. It can put up a lot of other signs. They can say no clothing for Muslims, they can say no haircuts for Latinos, you can go down the list.”

The Supreme Court already ruled in the 1990 decision of Employment Division v. Smith that neutral laws of general applicability, including anti-discrimination laws, are subject to rational basis review even when they incidentally burden religious beliefs. That precedent will likely hamper Masterpiece Cakeshop’s claims of being able to deny wedding cakes to same-sex couples under freedom of religion.

But supporters of Masterpiece Cakeshop are also framing the lawsuit as an attempt to protect freedom of expression on the basis that the preparation of a wedding cake is an inherently expressive act, unlike the provision of other goods, and protected under the First Amendment.

Katie Eyer, an anti-discrimination law scholar at Rutgers Law School, said the outcome of the case is hard to predict largely based on the freedom of speech claims made by Masterpiece Cakeshop.

“The speech side of the case is honestly more complicated,” Eyer said. “If this were 20, 30 years ago, certainly 30 years ago, I would tell you the Supreme Court does not treat discrimination as constitutionally protected expression. That has been eroded over the years as the court has moved away from the race cases, when this issue was originally raised. It has shown more and more willingness to entertain those types of defenses to anti-discrimination law claims.”

Eyer pointed out the Colorado Court of Appeals, which ruled against Masterpiece Cakeshop, determined the outcome could have been different if the baker was required to write a certain message on the wedding cake — something the U.S. Supreme Court may consider in evaluating the baker’s First Amendment claims.

Although oral arguments in the case aren’t yet scheduled, Esseks said the court has said they’re likely to take place within two weeks after Thanksgiving. The consensus among legal experts is the court will hand down a decision at the end of June 2018, when the term ends and the court tends to issue rulings in its high-profile cases.

In addition to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, numerous petitions are before the court that would enable justices to issue rulings either dramatically expanding or restricting LGBT rights. It takes a vote of at least four justices to grant a writ of certiorari, or agree to hear a case.

Among them is the petition filed by Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers in Washington State, who like Masterpiece Cakeshop is seeking a First Amendment right to refuse services for same-sex weddings, but in her case floral arrangements. The Washington Supreme Court upheld the state’s non-discrimination law against her claims, but she filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review.

Eyer, however, said the likely outcome of that petition is the Supreme Court will place it on hold until it finishes consideration of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, then take action.

“Often what the court will do in that type of circumstance is not grant and consolidate, but hold it until the initial case having implications is decided, and if it does indeed have implications, grant and remand and further consideration,” Eyer said. “I expect they probably won’t rule on the petition until the Cakeshop case is decided, and then whether or not they’ll send it back will depend on whether or not the Cakeshop case has new relevant doctrine, which it’s very likely to given the controversy and the circumstances.”

Another LGBT-related petition before the Supreme Court was filed by Kenosha School District in Wisconsin, which is seeking a nationwide ruling on whether Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 requires schools to allow transgender students to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity. The school district sought to bar high school student Ash Whitaker from the boy’s room, but the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Title IX requires the school to change its policy.

Last year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a similar case in which Gloucester County Schools refused to allow transgender high school student Gavin Grimm to use the school restroom consistent with his gender identity. But the Supreme Court changed course and nixed consideration of the case after the Trump administration rescinded guidance to schools assuring transgender kids access to the restroom of their choice. The remanded case is once again before trial court, which is determining the issue is moot now that Grimm has graduated.

Additionally, the LGBT group Lambda Legal has filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking a determination that sexual-orientation discrimination amounts to sex discrimination, and therefore is unlawful in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The plaintiff in the case is Jameka Evans, a security guard who claims she was targeted for harassment and effectively terminated from her job at Georgia Regional Hospital for being a lesbian.

The issue may be ripe for review because of a split among federal appeals courts. The U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against finding employment protections for Evans under Title VII in contrast to a ruling earlier this year from the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals determining anti-gay discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.

Jocelyn Samuels, executive director of the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the circuit split makes the Supreme Court more likely to hear the gay employment case, but that won’t necessarily be the outcome.

“The Second Circuit is also hearing the case en banc on the very same question, so there is a lot of development in the lower courts on addressing this issue,” Samuels said. “I think it’s uncertain whether the Supreme Court would weigh in now or would opt to see how more cases at the district and circuit level come out.”

As with the marriage cases and so many other cases before the Supreme Court, the outcome of the LGBT-related lawsuits will likely come down to U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who’s considered the swing vote on the bench and has a reputation for coming down in favor of gay rights.

With respect to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, Eyer said predicting the way Kennedy — who in addition to favoring LGBT rights, also has a reputation for giving deference to free speech — will come down is difficult.

“Part of what makes this a real wild card is Justice Kennedy, no doubt the justice in the middle of this case, has been steadfastly a defender of LGBT rights in the equal protection context, but also signed on to prior decisions granting exemptions to organizations under the First Amendment from gay-protective state anti-discrimination laws,” Eyer said.

Eyer afforded the same amount of deference to Kennedy in assessing the outcome of the gay employment and transgender bathroom cases should the Supreme Court decide to accept those petitions.

“The constitutional law context may differ from the statutory context in certain respects,” Eyer said. “He did vote to grant a cert of the stay in the G.G. case last year, which is certainly not dispositive, but it’s not helpful from the perspective of the plaintiff. There are lots of good reasons to think it would came in favor of plaintiffs in those cases, but we have a wild card of just not knowing specifically where Justice Kennedy is likely to go in these statutory cases.”

The Trump administration under U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has already weighed in on the Masterpiece Cakeshop case before the Supreme Court, siding with the Colorado baker in a friend-of-the-court brief. The Justice Department has also filed a brief in the Second Circuit against lesbian, gay and bisexual protections under Title VII, which likely means the administration will intervene if the Supreme Court takes up the Evans case.

Samuels said the influence the Trump administration will have is “hard to know,” but the U.S. solicitor general, who’s charged with representing the U.S. government before the Supreme Court, will be presenting an untenable position.

“I would say, in my own personal judgment, the fact that this Justice Department is moving away from positions supported by the prior administration and, in particular, that the fact in the Second Circuit, the position taken by the Justice Department is in direct conflict with the position already taken by the EEOC, I think, limits the persuasiveness of the Justice Department’s filing, certainly in the Second Circuit, and I think also in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case,” Samuels said.

Percolating through the lower courts as the Supreme Court weighs these cases is litigation challenging President Trump’s ban on transgender people in the U.S. armed forces. The consensus among legal experts is these high-profile cases are unlikely to reach the Supreme Court by the end of its term, unless justices agree to accept an interlocutory appeal if lower courts issue — or deny — a preliminary injunction against the ban.

The LGBT legal groups representing transgender plaintiffs have already made these requests and the Justice Department has a deadline of Friday to respond to at least one of them before a trial court in D.C.

Eyer said the Supreme Court hearing these cases this term is “reasonably unlikely, but not impossible,” although if justices were to accept the litigation, the outcome would be unclear because of limited doctrine on transgender rights compared to sexual-orientation cases.

“I would say one thing we saw most often on challenges to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and prior bans on gays and lesbians in the military was courts’ desire to defer to the military,” Eyer said. “I think that that factor’s really weakened here based on the fact that this doesn’t seem have been driven by the military, and indeed, the military seems to have reached the opposite conclusion, but how exactly it will play into litigation remains to be seen.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • lnm3921

    The Trump administration has already filed briefs favoring the Baker in denying gay couples a wedding cake and against Title VII protections including GLBT so what part of the Fake POTUS being an enemy of GLBT community don’t you understand? Can you see the endless pattern of Trump and his administration failing the GLBT community despite lies during his campaign that he would protect it? He has no credibility and cannot be trusted!!

    This is hardly hysteria like some idiot replied to me on another post, it’s reality and fact! Just because you live in denial doesn’t make it otherwise!

  • SammySeattle

    You do not have an inalienable right to discriminate against your fellow citizens. Christianity no longer has a stranglehold on the US and for good reason. It’s nuts like you that believe that their religion and only their should dictate our rights and freedoms that are causing religion to fail. Thankfully the First Amendment protects us from the insanity of dominionism.

    • believer

      No one is discriminating against you, it’s homosexuals who targeted and discriminated against the baker and tried to force him to service an event that they know violates his faith.

      • SammySeattle

        That’s B.S. Nobody forced this person to obtain a business license, open his shop and advertise his goods and services to the public. If you’re open to the public, you are open to all.

        • believer

          The baker was in the marriage business long before the SCOTUS interfered in religious law. Marriage is in the Bible, not the Constitution. Genesis 2:24. The baker is in the business of creating wedding cakes as a matter of faith in service to love and honor God. The baker has every right to live his life according to the tenets of his faith in pursuit of happiness, without fear of government interference.

          • SammySeattle

            Here, in the United States of America, our laws are based upon the Constitution. There are myriad religions, yours doesn’t supersede any other in matters of law. The baker is in business of selling baked goods. He can attach any personal meaning to that endeavor, but it does not abrogate his duty to run his business within the constraints of anti-discrimination laws. Your personal beliefs do not excuse discrimination against your fellow citizens. Once you step into the arena of public accommodation you must respect the rights of the public you’ve agreed to serve. it is that simple.

          • believer

            You really need to think about someone other than yourself and look at the facts. The baker is not discriminating. He offered to sell the men anything in his shop. What he can’t do is design a cake for a homosexual wedding. This violates his faith and causes him to sin. Why? Because marriage is religious. It is the union between a man and a woman in a creative capacity, IN THE IMAGE OF GOD, it’s in the Bible and NOT IN THE CONSTITUTION. We are a nation of laws, and everyone has to follow them including the SCOTUS. But they broke the law and interfered in religious law. Finally the baker has a right to live his life according to the tenets of his faith without fear of government interference, per article 1 of the Constitution.

          • SammySeattle

            I am thinking of All citizens of the United States of America. The baker discriminated against two of those citizens. We are a nation of laws, and your chosen belief in a diety and your chosen belief of what that deity demands of you is no excuse for discriminating against others. Each citizens has a right to thief own belief, but when you step into the arena of public accommodation you need to respect the beliefs and rights of those that you’ve offered to serve, i.e. : the public, your fellow citizens.

          • believer

            You forgot about the baker and his rights. The baker is a Christian and loves God with everything that he is. Do you believe that he should not be allowed to love the Lord our God, whom he honors?

          • SammySeattle

            He is free to believe what he wants, but once he steps foot into the arena of public accommodation he must recognize that all citizens have rights

          • believer

            That is not the law. The baker has Constitutional protection and this is not even debatable. You cannot ask the baker to perform a service that violates his faith.

          • SammySeattle

            The customer enjoys the same Constitutional protection, and when the baker entered into the arena of public accommodation he should have realized that his rights do not supersede those of the public whom he has invited into his place of business.

          • believer

            Religious Liberty IS in the Constitution, but Marriage is not in the Constitution; it’s in the Bible. So either way you look at this the baker enters the ring already injured by the SCOTUS homosexual wedding decision which interfered in religious law causing an undue burden of conscience for the baker, and the fact that the baker was targeted and discriminated against by homosexuals who wanted to force him to violate his faith. The baker should win this case if the court rules in favor of justice.

          • SammySeattle

            That is ridiculous. The baker has suffered no injury at all. This is all about the baker suggesting that he has a special right to discriminate against some of the public whom he had invited to partake of his goods and services. SCOTUS has no choice but to rule against the baker. Ruling in his favor would cause the undoing of all non-discrimination statutes. They won’t go there.

          • believer

            You have to look also at the baker’s side of the case. If the baker did not have constitutionally valid points, his case would not be before the court. In detail this is what this case is about.

            Masterpiece Cake Shop vs. the State of Colorado will be the earthly deciding case as to whether there really are competing rights at all and if so whether the inalienable religious freedom will win over the “non-discrimination civil right.” It’s not even debatable that blacks are born black — gays are not born gay and if they put forth this ridiculous argument, it is debatable.

            Backs are black regardless of emotion whereas gay is solely dependent on sexually behavioral choices or some action or feeling. Blacks have grown increasingly upset over this false equivalency because it is ridiculous, offensive, and insulting, not only to Blacks, but the entire heritage. It’s like saying being gay is the same as being Chinese or White. The SCOTUS should not allow such ridiculous false assumptions to even enter their courtroom because gays are USING the terrible history of blacks to piggyback their radical homosexual agenda, and this is all the way wrong!

            This issue is so important for the baker because it also has eternal consequences. Spiritually speaking, what will be the deciding factor of eternal life will be the truth vs. the lie with regard to God, marriage and family.

            Marriage is religious (Genesis 1:26; 2:24, Matthew 19:4), designed in a creative capacity, IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. It’s in the Bible, not the Constitution. This is scripture and the baker cannot look at it any other way. God formed the first man and woman and gave them creative power to also create and perpetuate society. Except Jesus, everyone else exists from the male and female union.

            For the Christian, a marriage law that contradicts the biblical law is a counterfeit because no other union can produce — only a man and a woman. THIS IS THE BURDEN OF CONSCIENCE PLACED ON THE BAKER BY SCOTUS’ NEW HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE LAW. And if that isn’t enough, the SCOTUS does not have authority to make new law — that is the responsibility of Congress.

            If someone wanted to marry their computer and asked the baker to bake the cake for their wedding ceremony, the baker would decline because it would counterfeit the Image of God in marriage.

            I believe Sister Lucia of Fatima was correct when she revealed a secret of Mary that the final battle between God and Satan will be about family.

          • SammySeattle

            That’s a whole lot of gibberish unsupported by facts. Of course that is the tack taken by those who think that religious liberty only applies to their chosen religion. And, btw, I’m gay no matter what I’m doing. It is just a much a part of me as my race. It is insulting to hear from bigots like you that we should not enjoy the same protections that you take for granted. What new marriage law? Cite the statute created by SCOTUS. You’re really hitting all of the bigot memes. Congratulations.

          • believer

            So you say. And make no mistake, the homosexual marriage law is a new law with no precedence. But let me ask you a question. Why Do Homosexuals Fear and Distrust the Very Idea of Religious Freedom?

          • SammySeattle

            There is now new law. If there was you could cite the statute. SCOTUS ruled that existing law applied to all and that law excluding gays from marriage were invalid. Gay people support religious freedom. What they don’t support is bigotry and discrimination.

          • believer

            What is it about religious freedom that makes it discriminatory?

          • SammySeattle

            Using religion as an excuse for discrimination and bigotry is unAmerican.

          • believer

            Why do you think the baker is “using his religion to discriminate?” Do you think that he does not have a right to live by his faith in public while doing business?

          • SammySeattle

            I couldn’t tell you why the baker decided to use his religion to discriminate. That would be a question for him. Sure, he has a right to live his faith, that does not extend to infringing on the rights of the citizenry to whom he has offered his goods and services. I’ve not made an offer to the baker or any other member of the public, so no, I’m not being discriminatory or intolerant. You don’t seem to have any understanding of what “public accommodation” or “discrimination” actually entail.

          • believer

            To say the baker “used his religion to discriminate” sounds very much like a false accusation. It is more that the baker is following the tenets of his faith and it has nothing to do with homosexuality, although that is a biblical abomination.

            For the baker, marriage is religious. It is the first divine law of Christianity and it is in the Bible not the Constitution. As I said before marriage was designed in a creative capacity, IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. This is scripture and the baker cannot look at it any other way.

            For the Christian, a marriage law that contradicts the biblical law is a counterfeit. THIS IS THE BURDEN OF CONSCIENCE FOR THE BAKER. If someone wanted to marry their computer and asked the baker to bake the cake, he would decline because it would counterfeit the Image of God in marriage.

            Do you believe the baker has a right to believe the biblical view of marriage or do you feel he should deny his right to believe?

          • SammySeattle

            Discrimination is discrimination. No matter how you use religion to dance around the fact and deny that it occurred. No, the baker does not have a right to discriminate against his fellow citizens. We’ve gone round and round about this.

          • believer

            You do realize that when you use the phrase “use your religion” for whatever reason is very hurtful because it suggests that the person does not love God. It’s like using derogatory statements to describe homosexuals. But the bottom line is the baker’s spirituality is just a much a part of him as your gayism is part of you.

            Why do homosexuals want to force the baker to participate in a religious marriage ceremony when the homosexuals are not religious? I’m guessing that the two men who approached the baker are themselves not religious.

          • SammySeattle

            do you realize that discrimination is hurtful? So hurtful that it’s necessary to create laws to prevent it. And some people will go to extremes to try to preserve discriminatory attitudes toward their fellow citizens. It’s shameful, especially when you use your religion as means to discriminate.

          • believer

            From everything discussed, it does not appear to be discrimination at all, but false accusations of such because homosexuals, who btw are not religious, want the baker to participate in a religious ceremony that violates his faith. The baker will win this case because he has shown that he is not a bigot and he has also shown that he is a true Christian and that he loves and honors God’s Image in marriage.

          • SammySeattle

            What is climate like on your planet? it’s not discrimination because the plaintiffs are gay?

          • SammySeattle

            So you’ve jumped from “guessing they’re not religious” to deeming them not religious in just two comments.

          • Mark Bradshaw

            What specific right was denied by the baker (and florist)? One does NOT have a right to the goods and labor of another, so what specific right were the homosexual couple denied by the baker (and florist)?

          • SammySeattle

            When the baker and the florist offered their goods and services to the public they made themselves subject to anti-discrimination statutes. Any member of the public than had the right to those services.

          • believer

            So the baker is free to believe but not free to love?

          • SammySeattle

            Discrimination is the poorest example of “love”.

          • believer

            So the baker is free to believe, but not free to love?

          • glenbo

            What proof do you have that homosexuals targeted” anyone?

          • believer

            Because of the fact that finding the Christian baker was like finding a needle in a haystack because there were many other bakeries they could have purchased from. The same with the florists and all the others. The homosexuals were looking to get paid because they knew the Christians would not violate their faith so they were ripe for the suing.

          • Natureboi

            Why is it okay to participate and celebrate an adulterous wedding?

            And you didn’t answer my previous question:

            How do you know homosexual attractions aren’t a product of nature…just like having two heads or both male and female genitalia?

          • believer

            Marriage is the first divine law of Christianity. It is the unity between a man and a woman. Marriage can only occur between a man and a woman. We celebrate marriage. We know that homosexuality is an abomination. It is unable to produce. Homosexuality is when a person rejects their natural gender in favor of the opposite gender or some variation. Homosexuals do not have both reproductive organs. If they did, why can’t they reproduce?

          • Natureboi

            Why didn’t you answer my questions?

          • believer

            Why is it okay to participate and celebrate an adulterous wedding?
            Marriage is the first divine law of Christianity. It is the unity between a man and a woman. Marriage can only occur between a man and a woman. We celebrate marriage.
            How do you know homosexual attractions aren’t a product of nature…just like having two heads or both male and female genitalia?
            We know that homosexuality is an abomination. It is unable to produce. Homosexuality is when a person rejects their natural gender in favor of the opposite gender or some variation. Homosexuals do not have both reproductive organs. If they did, why can’t they reproduce?

          • Natureboi

            You are avoiding answering my questions.
            This indicates you have a sinister anti LGBT agenda based on your bigotry towards LGBT people.
            You lose all credibility.

          • believer

            I did answer your questions but you apparently don’t like my answers. There is no scientific or biological reason for homosexuality since it is a choice in lifestyle. You are free to sin. You’re just not free to force the the baker to sin along with you.

          • Natureboi

            No, you didn’t answer my questions.
            You are a bigot.

          • believer

            Just because I disagree with you does not make me a bigot.

          • Natureboi

            Yes, you are.
            You intentionally dodged my questions because answering them honestly would validate your self-denied but oh so obvious bigotry.
            You cherry-pick biblical laws to follow or ignore at your whim.
            You refuse to acknowledge that homosexual attractions are natural and biologically occurring…just like intersex because it contrasts with your bigoted disposition towards homosexuals.
            You have no merit and no credibility.

          • believer

            test

  • SammySeattle

    Actually, that is the basis of all commerce law.

    • Mark Bradshaw

      No, it is NOT. One cannot compel another to provide goods and services through labor of another person. NOBODY has a right to anyone else’s labor. Any law that establishes such a “right” is unconstitutional and flies in the face of liberty and freedom.

      • SammySeattle

        And yet, myriad non-discrimination statutes stand. It’s almost as if you have no idea what you’re talking about.

        • Mark Bradshaw

          So did slavery laws. The fact that they “stand” is IRRELEVANT. They are unconstitutional.

          – The right to refuse service – https://www.adflegal.org/detailspages/blog-details/allianceedge/2015/05/08/key-decision-brings-hope-for-rights-of-conscience-cases-coast-to-coast
          An Absolute Right to Refuse Service –https://townhall.com/columnists/mattbarber/2014/03/02/an-absolute-right-to-refuse-service-n1803031

          • SammySeattle

            Yeah, remind me, what is the ADF win/loss record? Non-discrimination laws are not unconstitutional, despite the pleas of bigots for unfettered discrimination.

          • Mark Bradshaw

            I have no idea what their “win/loss record” is. That is IRRELEVANT. Laws that unequally apply to certain groups is discriminatory. Anti-discrimination laws apply differently to people of faith. They restrict one’s ability to simply say “No thanks” to supporting something that violates their conscience – much in the same way a painter/artist cannot be compelled to paint something which offends him/her.

            There was absolutely ZERO discrimination by these Christian business owners. They simply did not want to provide their goods and labor in support of something that violates their religious conscience. NOBODY has a right to the goods and labor of another.

          • SammySeattle

            They apply to all people equally. Once you’ve offered goods and services to the public you can’t pick and choose which members of the public are worthy of the offer.

          • Mark Bradshaw

            NO, they DON’T. They unequally prevent business owners who have a faith from living every aspect of their life according to their faith.

            “Once you’ve offered goods and services to the public you can’t pick and choose which members of the public are worthy of the offer.” —– This is NOT what these Christian business owners have done, nor is it what I am advocating for. The business owners didn’t refuse service based upon WHO the customers were/are. They didn’t “pick and choose which members of the public are worthy of the offer”.

          • SammySeattle

            A business owner’s faith and belief do not excuse them from discriminating against other citizens. It’s that simple. Open to the public, open to all. Offer a service to the public, it’s offered to all.

          • Mark Bradshaw

            The business owners did NOT discriminate against the person, but simply refused to support the EVENT.

            He WAS open to all and gladly served ANYONE (including homosexuals) that walked through his doors. NOBODY has a right to the goods and labor of another – PERIOD.

          • SammySeattle

            The event only differs from any other of the like by the participants. He discriminated against the participants. You might want to learn about public accommodation statutes and all that they entail before you open a business.

          • Mark Bradshaw

            And a KKK rally differs from any other rally only by its participants. The participants were IRRELEVANT in the baker’s (and florist’s) decision.

            You might want to educate yourself about the Constitution and the basic liberties/freedoms protected by it.

          • SammySeattle

            Oh, please. The participants status had everything to do with the refusal of service in these cases. I’m well versed in both matters of constitutional protections and in anti-discrimination law. The defendants in these cases will learn the limits of their bigotry soon enough.

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