David Mullins and Charlie Craig asked the Masterpiece Cakeshop to create their wedding cake in 2012. Its owner, Jack Phillips, refused, explaining that the request went against his religious beliefs. He was sued by the couple and the court ruled in their favor, citing a state anti-discrimination law. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ordered the cake shop to change its company policy and provide comprehensive staff training regarding public discrimination. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), says Phillips was also ordered to “provide quarterly reports for the next two years, regarding steps the shop has taken to come into compliance, and whether it has turned away any prospective customers”.

The right to discriminate

On Friday, Acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court. He said, "forcing Phillips to create an expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs, invades his First Amendment rights.”

But CNN Supreme Court analyst Steve Vladeck called the brief unusual and said while the Justice Department was not known for arguing in favor of a constitutional exemption to anti-discrimination laws, that’s exactly what it was doing now. In effect, the brief says that no one, regardless of job description, can be forced to act, “An artist cannot be forced to paint, a musician cannot be forced to play, and a poet cannot be forced to write.”


Wall has a point seeing that up to September 2017, no US federal law exists that mandates bakeries or private businesses to serve gays and lesbians. However, the District of Columbia, along with 21 other US States require certain protections for the specified group. Colorado’s public accommodations law says “no business engaged in any sales to the public, may refuse to an individual or a group, because of sexual orientation, the full and equal enjoyment, of their goods and services”.

The right of free expression

Phillips said several of his staff members quit, after criticizing his decision not to bake for members of the LGBT community. Yahoo News reported that he also lamented a huge fall in business, with sales down 40 percent. However, the Justice Department says Phillips’ right of free expression must be protected at all costs.

In fact, it insists that all Americans must enjoy that right. The statement may seem hypocritical, seeing that the Gay Couple will still be discriminated against. The ACLU has blasted the trump administration, calling the brief’s filing, “nothing short of a constitutional right to discriminate." It regrets that Government has openly shown its hostility to LGBT people and is furthering its bias in the courts.

President Donald Trump has never hidden his dislike for the LGBT community. Since taking office, he ceased guidance to schools on how they should accommodate transgender students. In July, he also blocked about 15,000 transgender Americans from serving in the military. Trump’s administration has also made it clear that it does not support job protection under federal anti-discrimination laws for gay workers.