A baker, who discriminated against a gay couple, is very happy that U.S. Supreme Court will hear his case, lawyer says

(What Jesus would do? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Since 2012, conservative talk-radio hosts and lawmakers in Colorado have wrapped their loving arms around a baker who refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple.

A federal appeals court, as well as a string of Colorado courts, have found Masterpiece Cakeshop’s action in violation of  Colorado’s public accommodations law, which bars discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear the Masterpiece case, and the baker’s Colorado lawyer, Nicole Martin, said on KNUS 710-AM Monday that she “did a little jig” when she heard the news.

Asked by host Dan Caplis how the baker, Jack Phillips, reacted, Martin said, “He was very happy and I think humbled, and he always had faith in God’s plan. And that showed. But, yes, it is a profound moment for him, as you could imagine.”

“I think we have an excellent shot at winning,” said Martin on the radio. “I do.  Even with Kennedy, we feel that we will be vindicated. And, you know, at the end of the day, it is compelling that Jack will finally have his day in court.  When you start  in an administrative body, especially when you’re dealing with complex issues of First Amendment jurisprudence and Free Exercise jurisprudence, and you’re starting in a local Colorado administrative court, it is very hard to feel like you ever had your real day in court. It is very hard to feel that you ever had actual due process. So, this is an important vindication, that the Colorado Supreme Court, I think,  passed up a great opportunity. This is an important vindication that these issues need to be decided by judges that have the wisdom, experience, and expertise to decide these types of cases.”

In a news release Monday, a coalition of progressive groups, called Freedom for All Americans, spoke out against the Masterpiece baker’s discriminatory actions.

“As people of faith from many traditions, we are grounded in a common teaching, love your neighbor as you love yourself,” said Amanda Henderson, Executive Director, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. “In our communities and in our country, all people should have the right to be treated equally under the law, and served in any establishment no matter who they are, what they believe, or who they love.”

Laura “Pinky” Reinsch, Political Director at One Colorado, added: “All hardworking people, including those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer, should be treated fairly and equally under the law. When they walk into a business that’s open to the public, they should be treated like anyone else and not be discriminated against. Let’s be clear, the Masterpiece Cakeshop case is about a business turning customers away simply because they were gay, which violates longstanding Colorado law.”

In Colorado, in the wake of the Masterpiece controversy, GOP lawmakers tried repeatedly to pass legislation allowing discrimination against gays and others.

For example, in 2015, State Senators Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) and Tim Neville (R-Littleton) were among the sponsors of failed legislation that would have allowed student clubs to violate campus anti-discrimination policies and still receive university benefits (funds, facilities, etc.).

In response to repeated legal setbacks in Colorado, one local talk-radio host ordered a cake from a bakery with the Bible verse, “Homosexuality Is a Detestable Sin” written on it. When the baker refused, the radio host filed a complaint that was later dismissed on grounds that the verse was hate speech.

The case against Masterpiece baker was originally filed on behalf of the gay couple by the ACLU of Colorado.

Staunch conservative John Suthers, Colorado’s Attorney General when the case was filed in 2012, agreed that the bakery broke Colorado’s law.

The outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court’s review of the Masterpiece case could have an impact on similar cases nationally, such as that of a photographer in New Mexico who was found to be in violation of civil rights law when she refused service for a gay couple’s wedding. The Supreme Court refused to hear this case is 2014.

“[The baker] believes very strongly that he was created for a time such as this,” said Martin on air, adding that David Cortman from Alliance for Defending Freedom and other nationally known lawyers will argue the case. “[Phillips] was chosen for a time such as this, I have no doubt in my mind about that. You will never meet anyone more faithful – a more humble servant. Never! He is amazing.”

Tim Gaudette, Colorado Outreach Manager, Small Business Majority, said via a news release: “Americans overwhelmingly oppose policies that allow businesses to cite their religious beliefs as an excuse for discriminating against LGBTQ persons, including 65 percent of Colorado small business owners, according to a Small Business Majority scientific opinion poll.”

31 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Andrew Carnegie says:

    People's sincerely held religious beliefs are protected by the US Constitution, even if protecting them is not popular with 65% of Colorado small business owners.

    If most of our freedoms were subject to a current popularity test, including one of the all-important Colorado small business owners, we would have many fewer freedoms.

    Personally, I think those folks in the late 18th century largely got it right.

    • DavieDavie says:

      Religious beliefs are fine.  You just can't use them as an excuse not to sell a product you produce for the general public.

      If I had a shoe store, but refused to sell shoes to a non-Christian because my Christian belief is they are going to Hell, whose freedom is being impinged upon?

      • Andrew Carnegie says:

        If there was only one bakery or only one shoe store in town, you might have a point.  If not, you don't.

        • DavieDavie says:

          Irrelevant, as your comments appear increasingly to be

        • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

          Precedent was set during the civil rights movement. Private businesses – hotels, restaurants, bus stations – refused equal seating for blacks and put their customers of color through endless humiliations and physical danger.

          There was in fact a "Green Book" of businesses that did not discriminate against blacks – so they were using their "free market" approach as best they could. But it wasn't enough.

          And so people marched, and prayed, and rallied, and spoke, and boycotted, and finally LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act. which prohibited discrimination in "housing, employment, and public accommodations".

          That is the law and precedent LGBT people are following. It's not enough that they can go down the street to "have their cake and eat it too". We don't need a "Rainbow Book" of gay-friendly public accommodations.  Every place should be discrimination free.

          You will probably say that LGBT status is not like skin color, that it's not biologically innate, that it's a "choice" or a "moral failing" or whatever. Science disagrees with you, as on so much else.

          • Andrew Carnegie says:

            MJ:

            Let me state the obvious.  If the law was settled, the Supreme Court would not have agreed to hear the case.

            • Discrimination against black people was/is often described in religious terms. The Supreme Court has heard many such cases. It is settled case law. That doesn't mean that a new Court, comprised of more justices willing to give priority to business owner rights over general civil rights, might not want to re-test the boundaries. But discrimination by a business operating under a public license is definitely a settled matter.

              • Alternatively, the Court could rule that not only does Colorado's civil rights law clearly protect the LGBTQ community, but based on other recent Court rulings, Federal law also needs to cover them as a protected class. There are at least four votes for that on the Court right now, possibly the required five. That would burn a bit on the religious reactionary right…

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      I believe* that you're a complete fucking idiot if you think that the constitution "protects" any individual's "sincerely held" religious beliefs . . . 

      . . . what it does do is quite different, and nearly the opposite, from your ridiculous assertion.

      (* the fact that you’re a complete fucking idiot stands on itself — and is completely independent of whether I believe it or not.)

    • unnamed says:

      My religious freedom is my freedom to impose my beliefs on others.  You are discriminating against me if you don't let me discriminate freely.

    • From a 1966 Federal Court decision upholding civil rights:

      Undoubtedly defendant . . . has a constitutional right to espouse the religious beliefs of his own choosing, however, he does not have the absolute right to exercise and practice such beliefs in utter disregard of the clear constitutional rights of other citizens. This Court refuses to lend credence or support to his position that he has a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of the Negro race in his business establishment upon the ground that to do so would violate his sacred religious beliefs.

    • ParkHill says:

      What about people with hypocritically held religious beliefs? How can you tell the difference from sincerely held?

      Is Donald a sincere or hypocritical christian? Can he refuse to let non-christians stay in his hotels?

  2. Roger Edwards, Candidate CO 6th DistrictPowerful Pear says:

    If you are going to operate a retail business. Then you should be prepared to service customers who are willing to pay the price. Money is green, not black, white, red, yellow, brown, straight or queer. 

    What is outrageous is the government penalty for such behavior. The queer couple had other alternatives to get a cake. Everyone could have their cake and eat it too.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Hmmmmm . . . 

      Separate but equal cakes . . .

      . . . sounds vaguely familiar,

      . . . reminiscent of that halcyon time when America was great before, huh pfruit?

    • You should have stopped with paragraph 1. You might have gained some respect.

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        The answer is very simple. If one is in business to serve the public, then one serves the public. There is a large difference between “no shoes, no shirt, no service” and refusing to serve someone because of the business owner religious beliefs. The thought that the couple had "other alternatives" is ridiculous.

  3. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    Just a note: Freedom for All Americans isn't a coalition of anything. It was previously known as Freedom to Marry, but that battle's been won. The name was changed to reflect the ongoing war in other areas of discrimination against GLBT folks.

  4. spaceman65 says:

    Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. is a Colorado nonprofit corporation.  Explain to me how this nonhuman entity has religious beliefs.  Or any beliefs.  The deep flaw in the Hobby Lobby decision is treating nonhuman entities as having beliefs at all, let alone beliefs protected by the First Amendment.  And BTW, Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. is delinquent according to the secretary of state's website, and has been for more than 3 years.  Doing Jesus's work apparently makes it hard to file the annual report

     

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      How does a bakery become a non-profit? Isn't a business that sells baked goods to customers by definition "for profit"?   Do they share facilities, workers, expenses? Is that even legal?

      If it is in fact a non-profit, aren't the standards for equity in customer service even stricter?

      I'm going to ask someone who is both a civil servant and a bake shop owner.

    • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

      Spaceman, they're a non-profit? Where does the money go? To his church? If that were more widely known, I'll bet it would hurt his business more than refusing any single order. 

      M.J., I’ll be very interested to learn what you discover.

      • spaceman65 says:

        Yeah, I was surprised to see that on the SOS's website.  Makes me wonder why as well.

         

        • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

          Money, religion and politics = a bad mix

          I did contact my friend, who unfortunately said that he knows nothing about non-profit law. But I dimly recall that it's pretty specific; space, labor, etc can't just be "shared"; it must be recorded and  accountable.

          So if the profit making bakery is making an "in-kind" donation of facilities or labor to the non-profit Masterpiece Cakeshop, then this at least should be on the taxes of the for-profit entity, Masterpiece Cakes.

          So "I got curious". (that phrase should undoubtedly be my epitaph). Jack Phillips claims in his video that he has lost 40% of his revenue because he no longer makes wedding cakes, at all. Rather than just making a cake for anyone who drops in to his store and has the funds, he's voluntarily giving up that revenue, for his "religious principles".

          So he has a crowdsourced funding page, which says its mission is to support Jack. OK…. and it's raised 21% of its 200K goal, or about $42K. Not too shabby – probably makes up for some of those missed wedding cakes, without the fuss and expense of actually baking them.

          And probably legal, although he would have to pay taxes on donations, I'm guessing. Maybe that's what the non-profit was for. 

          At any rate, on his donations page now, it says:

          Thank you for your support and taking the time to donate. We are so grateful to the Alliance Defending Freedom for covering our legal costs. If you would like to donate to them, click here.

          If you would like to show your support to Masterpiece Cakeshop by donating to us, just use the button below and write “Masterpiece Cakeshop” in the PURPOSE line of the PayPal form.

          Donations to Masterpiece Cakeshop are not tax exempt and are considered sales. All due sales taxes will be paid.

          So I have the same problem with this that I had with Gordon Klingenschmitt, that sleazoid, lying hypocrite. He's mixing religion with politics with business, and nobody knows where the boundaries are.

          Hopefully, his particular brand of bigotry will die out in a generation or so. I just hope that this Supreme Court doesn't use his crusade as the icing on the cake of empowering Christian Dominionism to rule our secular society.

          The entity named in the lawsuit, now going to the Supreme Court, is Masterpiece Cakeshop, the business, not Masterpiece Cakeshop, the non-profit. Since I don't really want to investigate the guy's tax returns, I'll leave it there.

          And if I want a gorgeous cake, I know a not-so-skinny cook.

           

  5. CaninesCanines says:

    Maybe the baker's attorney is going to use the Westboro Baptist Church's tagline in his argument: "God Hates Fags."

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