ACLU Files Supreme Court Brief Arguing That Public Businesses Cannot Discriminate Against Customers Based on Who They Are

Affiliate: ACLU of Colorado
October 23, 2017 5:15 pm

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WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union filed its brief today in the Supreme Court in a case in which a Colorado bakery refused service to a same-sex couple seeking a cake for their wedding reception.

The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, will be heard at the Supreme Court on December 5.

The Colorado courts found that the bakery violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to serve Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins when they walked into the bakery in July 2012 to inquire about cakes for their wedding reception. In its brief, the ACLU argues that the First Amendment does not give a business open to the public the right to discriminate against its customers in violation of state law.

“This is not about the cake. Charlie and Dave walked into the Cakeshop and were turned away because of who they are,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU. “The stakes could not be higher. A ruling against them at the Supreme Court will not just encourage other businesses to engage in similarly discriminatory practices: It will enshrine a constitutional right to discriminate.”

The ACLU, the ACLU of Colorado, and the Denver firm King & Greisen represent Mullins and Craig in the case. Under Colorado law, businesses open to the public like Masterpiece Cakeshop may not refuse service based on factors including race, religion, or sexual orientation. After lower courts ruled in Mullins and Craig’s favor, the bakery requested that the Supreme Court review the case.

The filing can be found here:

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