Can Businesses Turn LGBT People Away Because of Who They Are? That’s Up to the Supreme Court Now.

The United States Supreme Court just agreed to decide a case about whether a business can refuse to sell commercial goods to a gay couple because of the business owner’s religious beliefs.  A win for the business could gut the nation’s civil rights laws, licensing discrimination not just against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, but against anyone protected by our non-discrimination rules. 

In July 2012, Debbie Munn accompanied her son, Charlie Craig, and his fiancé, Dave Mullins, to the Masterpiece Cakeshop just outside of Denver  to pick out a cake for their wedding reception.  When the bakery’s owner heard that the cake was for two men, he said he wouldn’t sell them a cake because of his religious beliefs. 

Debbie was stunned and humiliated for Charlie and Dave.  As she has  said, “It was never about the cake.”  She couldn’t believe that a business would be allowed to turn people away because of who they are or whom they love.  They might as well have posted a sign in the shop saying “No cakes for gays.”

The Colorado courts agreed with Debbie and ruled that the bakery’s refusal was unlawful and rejected the bakery’s request for a religious exemption from the state’s longstanding non-discrimination law. 

By granting review in Charlie and Dave’s case, the Supreme Court has placed  a spotlight on supposed tensions between equality and religious liberty.  But the country has already found the right balance between these two important constitutional interests. 

Under the Constitution, we each have the right to our own religious beliefs.  We are empowered to act on those beliefs --  but not when our actions would harm others.  That’s because religious freedom doesn’t give anyone the right to discriminate against or harm other people.

When businesses open their doors to the public, they must open them to everyone on the same terms, regardless of race, color, national origin, disability, or – under many state  laws – sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Even when  a business owner’s religious beliefs may motivate her to discriminate, that doesn’t justify an exemption from our civil rights laws.  Providing commercial services, like selling cakes, doesn’t mean a business owner is endorsing anyone’s marriage.  It simply means they are following the rules that apply to us all.

Demands for religious exemptions from civil rights laws are not new.  In the past, businesses have repeatedly sought to pay women less than men because of a religious belief that men are “heads of household” and women should not work outside the home.  Other businesses have refused service to people living with HIV because of a belief that they are sinful.  Still others turned people away from restaurants because of their belief that they should not  interact with people of a different race.  The courts rightly rejected all of these claims for religious exemptions, despite the fact that they were based on deeply held beliefs. 

There’s no reason that religious exemptions should be any more acceptable when it comes to turning people away because of religious beliefs about  sexual orientation or gender identity.  Courts across the country have agreed, including a decision from the Washington State Supreme Court  in February.  

The religious exemptions issue has gained prominence recently as civil rights protections for gay and transgender people have become more widespread.  States have proposed laws that would license discrimination by businesses, government workers, adoption agencies, and counselors.  Congress has considered similar measures. And President Trump has signed an executive order that signaled his intent to use religious exemptions to advance discrimination. But polling shows that both the American public and business owners themselves reject these overbroad exemptions and recognize them as discrimination. 

Charlie’s mom was right:  It’s not about the cake. Or the flowers. It’s about not being turned away from a business because of who you are.  Religious freedom must be protected in America, but what’s going on here is pure  discrimination. 

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So if that is ok, then what is next. Can I deny service to another person because he is black, or a Hindu or a protestant because I claim that my religion says so? What you don't understand is that it is not about gays or lesbians, but about being civilized and not using religion as a basis for discrimination. Jesus never said not to love gays or lesbians nor prostitutes for that matter. It is vile people who do that.


A voice from the Idiocracy.


My sincerely held religious beliefs compel me to expose and disseminate information about any business employing discriminatory practices so everyone may avoid doing business with them. Why open your doors to the public then? Sad!


I would like to disagree with you on this issue.
Baking a cake doesn't hold the same significance as changing someone's beliefs. In an official report of the court findings, the Court allowed Phillips to add a note on all of these cakes that he doesn't condone this type of behavior, allowing him to keep his beliefs.
Phillips had violated the CADA as he refused the couple service because Craig and Mullins were planning to have a same-sex marriage, so the basis of Phillip's rejection is that the marriage was same-sex. This is discrimination against sexual orientation and therefore, a violation of the CADA.
The Court had every right to issue this verdict.


Is it just homosexuality that is against their religion? Is fornication against their religion? If so, so they ask if a couple is having sex before they get married, if they are do they refuse to bake a cake for them? You cannot just pick and choose which "firmly" held convictions you have can you? Do adulterers get the same treatment? Sorry but if you are serving the public your religious beliefs don't really have anything to so with it--those convictions apply to you and you alone. You don't apply them to other people.


i agree tp


I understand where your coming from but the things is that, when running a business in reality no matter who you are or what you do you need to leave your religious beliefs, personal problems, personal dislikes, or anything that has nothing to do with how it will effect the company’s progress at the door because if you refuse service to someone because they’re gay or because of skin color or whatever you don’t like about them your not only losing a who community but as well as people who frankly will find you disgusting for judging others and maybe not all people will but you need to run a business with your head not your heart and involve your personal opinions or issues. Also if you really do have a major problem with your customer then just have another employee service them and if u don’t then just suck it up unless you want to lose customers it’s a business not some random party where you can trash anyone and be less likely to pay the price for it. I hate discrimination but I can’t control people’s minds I’ll just frankly find them as rude people who judge someone with no reason or without knowing them and if u do know them personally or have a valid reason for hate like one of my friends hates gays cause he was sexually harassed and nearly raped them ok valid point and hopefully he’ll realize soon that not all people are like that but before I get to side tracked my point is say what you want outside on your own time but not when your trying to run a company.

P.S. anyone who agrees or disagrees realize I am 14 so if something I said is wrong or whatever it’s my opinion plus what I think a proper way to run a company should be. Have a nice day sorry if My OPINION offended anyone.


II respect your opinion! :) I do believe this issue should be separated by goods and services. I believe that we all should be allowed to follow our religious freedom and not offer services (Photography, premarital counseling, and officiating). However, if the product is a good. Then there shouldn't be a line.
I'm all for religious freedom. I don't know if the cake would have been a big deal. However, I would assume that this couple could have gone anywhere, but may have been picking a fight walking into a Christian owned and operated establishment. Just the same that the Christian community SHOULD NOT be showing up at a LGBT meeting, that would be picking a fight.

Rock on, friends. Show your colors, respect the Christians, and just let other people live how they want to...

Jeff M

In another article, the ACLU rightfully States that the provisions for freedom of speech contained in the Bill of Rights is a " bedrock" of civil liberties. The same amendment in the Bill of Rights goes on to prohibit the government from establishing a religion or Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of religious beliefs. By endorsing LGBT rights overdose of religious beliefs it appears that the ACLU is indeed selective and partisan in what it considers"civil liberties". This appears to be consistent with my observations of the ACLU over the the years. The ACLU defended the Nazis right to march in Skokie Illinois but to my knowledge has failed to defend the rights of conservatives to speak on liberal campuses. Your organization claims to be non-partisan. However it must be coincidental that fundamental civil liberties are espoused by the organization only when consistent with a liberal political agenda.

Kathy Barbis

freedom of speech
the right of people to express their opinions publicly without governmental interference, subject to the laws against libel, incitement to violence or rebellion, etc.

A liberal college deciding not to let a person speak on their campus is not governmental interference.


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