December 5, 2017 at 1:00 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Masterpiece Cakeshop case is ‘about freedom’

The gay couple in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case says their case is about “freedom.” (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The gay couple in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case on Tuesday said it is about equality.

“This is about freedom, freedom for LGBT people to live full lives in public,” David Mullins told LGBT rights advocates who were gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mullins and his husband, Charlie Craig, spoke to the activists shortly after the justices heard oral arguments in the case.

Jack Phillips, owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo, maintains the First Amendment allows him to refuse to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples because of his religious beliefs. Phillips and his lawyers with the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBT legal group the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group, reiterated this point when they spoke with reporters after the oral arguments ended.

Mullins and Craig insist Phillips discriminated against them because of their sexual orientation.

“We want everyone to be free and equal,” Mullins told the activists after the oral arguments ended. “All deserve fair and equal treatment and that’s why we’re here today.”

Case is ‘not about the cake’

Hundreds of people were gathered outside the Supreme Court during the oral arguments.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) — who represents Denver and several of its suburbs — said the case is “not about the cake,” but rather “discrimination.” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), New York Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) are among the dozens of other LGBT rights supporters and advocates who spoke in front of the Supreme Court.

“The case that the Supreme Court will hear this morning is about one thing: Discrimination, plain and simple,” said Ian Thompson of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents Craig and Mullins. “A ruling for Masterpiece Cakeshop would turn our constitution’s promise of equal treatment under the law on its head. It would have dangerous implications that go far beyond LGBT people.”

Sheila Alexander-Reid, director of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, said advocates “must continue to fight against attempts to restrict the rights of Americans and against any policy that enshrines discrimination into law.” Transgender Law Center Deputy Director Isa Noyola stressed a ruling in support of Phillips will have a “devastating impact” on transgender and gender non-conforming people of color.

“This case has implications for every single one of the communities that are in our coalition,” added Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights who worked at the Justice Department during the Obama administration. “This case is fundamentally about who we are as a country and what we deserve to have as an America that respects everyone’s rights and everyone’s ideals.”

U.S. Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) and Liberty Counsel Director of Public Policy Jonathan Alexandre are among those who spoke in support of Phillips outside the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This Supreme Court is running this country,” said U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) after he sharply criticized the Supreme Court for ruling in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples in the Obergefell case.

The Iowa Republican also pointed out the Defense of Marriage Act, which President Clinton signed in 1996. The Supreme Court in 2013 ruled the section of DOMA that defined marriage as between a man and a woman in federal law was unconstitutional.

“We need to get them back to the constitution itself,” said King, referring to the justices.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • You’ll NEVER get justice for GLBT under the Trump Administration! He’s a complete disaster..BIGLY!

  • You’ll NEVER get justice for GLBT under the Trump Administration! He’s a complete disaster..BIGLY!

  • Might know all the crazies and religious nuts would be at the court especially West Bouro Baptist Church—a pseudo-christian groups that uses religion not to avoid paying income taxes and abuses the Constitution in the name of the first amendment to justify psycho-socio-pathic behavior to injure others at their most vuilnerable moments. Jesus would not approve of their unchristian behavior. Hate is not a Christian value.

    • What Phillips is trying to do is a violation of all the Civil Rights laws from 1949 to throughout the rest of the twentieth century. There were times, dears, when black people could not eat at restaurants, use public restrooms, use the public library, ad nauseum. If your were a gay person –you could be arrested and fired simply on suspicion. and in some states’s (North Carolina was one such state)captial sodomy laws murdered by the State simply because of being your self..Remember Stonwall nnn –which another good example of this.

      This kind of discrimination does not need to be allowed to be cranked up again. We all have to live together and while we may not agree with each other—we must be as tolerant as possible of each other so that we can get along.

      In the !9th century the Supreme Court in the Robertson case defined the right for worship and religion freely as the free exercise of those practices that does not violate the Civil and Criminal laws of the State, National or local laws. Thus just because you worship the Devil and maybe claim ot be a witch to boot—does not give you the right to engage in human sacrifice or impose your religious beliefs on others—which the Evangelicals seem to forget and violate the rights of others who may or may not agree with them. You have the right to think and believe anything you wish but you wish but like Dante’s Inferno (where the glutton tries to eat the food placed before him and it is swished away before even the first bite)—you do not necessarily have the right to act upon such beliefs or thoughts. All that said —if you wish to engage in human sacrifice you can do it as Christians do it at the Eucharist—symbolically—in this case the cup of wine and bread which under the Doctrine of Trans-substantiation becomes the actual bread and blood of Christ. This is an idea that may have lead to much of the persecution of Christians by the Romans and Jews of that time—they, perhaps, only thought that and actual person was murdered in the name of God.
      We cannot have folks like Roy Moore thinking that they can violate the Laws of the Nation and States in the name of God if we tolerate such actions it will not be long before extremists like Phillips will be claiming that they can commit crimes in the name of God.

  • It is about freedom, the freedom not to be forced to bake a frickin gay wedding cake.

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