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Trump Lawyers Back the Baker Against Gay Couple

By William Vogeler, Esq. on September 11, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

No shorts, no shoes, no shirt, no service. But what about gay couples?

That's the question baker Jack Phillips poses to the U.S. Supreme Court in a showdown between gay and religious rights. For now, the U.S. Justice Department has answered the question: no service.

"Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights," Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall argues in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Cake Case

Phillips became America's most famous, or infamous, cake-maker after he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple in 2012. He said it was against his religion.

Charlie Craig and David Mullins said Phillips' refusal was against their marriage rights. And the Colorado courts said the baker violated the state's anti-discrimination act.

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide the issue this upcoming term, reportedly the most important term for gay rights since its same-sex marriage decision. Louise Melling of the ACLU, which is representing the couple, said she was stunned by the justice department's amicus filing in the cake case.

"What the Trump Administration is advocating for is nothing short of a constitutional right to discriminate," she said.

Flower Case

The Trump Administration has already upset the LGBT community on other fronts. He recently ordered the military to reject transgender recruits, and his justice department has argued that gay workers are not entitled to protection under federal anti-discrimination laws.

In Arlene's Flowers v. State of Washington, the U.S. Supreme Court is also being asked to decide whether a florist may refuse to create floral arrangements for a same-sex marriage. Florist Barronelle Stutzman says in her petition that it violates her religious beliefs.

The justice department has not weighed in on that case, which was filed in July, yet.

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