Justice Dept. Sides With Baker Who Refused Gay Couple

Administration files brief supporting Jack Phillips
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2017 4:39 AM CDT
White House Backs Baker Who Wouldn't Make Cake for Gay Couple
In this March 10, 2014, photo, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips cracks eggs into a mixer inside his store in Lakewood, Colo.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

The Trump administration has picked a side in a controversial upcoming Supreme Court case—and it isn't the side of gay rights. The Department of Justice filed a brief Thursday supporting Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for gay couple Charlie Craig and David Mullins in 2012. Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, was found guilty of violating the state's anti-discrimination laws, and the administration's brief urges the Supreme Court to scale back the law so Phillips isn't forced to "create expression" that goes against his Christian beliefs, Bloomberg reports. Some 84 House and Senate Republicans have also signed a brief supporting the baker, reports the Hill.

"Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights," Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall wrote in the administration's brief. Louise Melling of the ACLU, which is representing the couple, tells the Washington Post that she's shocked by the filing—even from an administration that has made its "hostility" to the gay community obvious. In the case, which could have implications for businesses nationwide, a Colorado court argued that Phillips would not "convey a message supporting same-sex marriages merely by abiding by the law." Lawyers noted that he rejected the couple without asking for details of the proposed cake. (Read more Jack Phillips stories.)

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