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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

SCOTUS to Rule on Same-Sex Wedding Cake Case

With rumors flying about Justice Anthony Kennedy's imminent retirement, and with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg determined to hang-on through the Trump Administration, an interesting same-sex case involving a wedding cake has made its way to the SCOTUS.

The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop -v- Colorado Civil Rights Commission, pits gay rights against religious freedom. An otherwise amiable cake shop owner was sued under Colorado's public accommodation law when it refused to accommodate a same-sex couple's request for a gay-themed wedding cake. The shop owner's refusal was based on his sincerely held religious beliefs against gay marriage.

We've seen these cake cases percolating through the legal systems of various states for the past half decade. This one from Colorado was just recently granted certiorari by the SCOTUS after a lengthily delay.

Asserting his First Amendment right to freedom of religion, the shop owner and petitioner, who characterizes himself as a "cake artist", claims that the Colorado law is unconstitutional to the extent that it forces him to accommodate customers in the violation of his religious beliefs. The lower court decision of the Colorado Court of Appeals held that the baker illegally discriminated against a gay couple under the Colorado law.

SCOTUS denied a similar petition for cert three years ago and watchers of the High Court, seeing the extended delay in acting on the petition, anticipated another rejection from the SCOTUS. Surprisingly, the Court granted certiorari and the case will be argued this fall, with a decision on the merits expected next spring.

The case received the four votes required to grant certiorari. This fall, it will be interesting to see how the newly-configured Court will handle this civil rights dispute. Depending on the judicial fates of Justices Kennedy and Ginsburg, President Trump may have the opportunity to bolster the conservative wing of the High Court.

Meanwhile, these gay-themed cake cases are gaining traction within our culture. Currently, a play in Los Angeles, "The Cake", has adopted the theme of these cases: pitting a shop owner against gay customers who ask the owner to do something with which the owner disagrees on moral and religious grounds.

With all that we have swirling around Washington at the moment, some of our legal friends have already commented on this post that SCOTUS has way more on its plate than to decide this case. On the other hand, religious beliefs run deep and affect our souls.

So, we will do what we always do here at the Law Blogger: keep you posted...
Post #598

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