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Supreme Court will consider suit against anti-discrimination laws

The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday agreed to hear [order list, PDF] arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case concerning a bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, and Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers [SCOTUSblog materials].A group that won court rulings against Texas and Louisiana abortion laws is suing now to overturn other Louisiana laws that it says have led to more than a thousand regulations created to restrict abortions.The suburban Denver baker argues that he did not turn away the gay couple in 2012 because they were gay, but because their marriage violated his religious belief.Jake Phillips has owned Masterpiece Cakeshop since the early 1990s.The petition stated that Phillips faced a stark choice: “Either use your talents to create expression that conflicts with your religious beliefs about marriage, or suffer punishment under Colorado’s public accommodation law”.Say an artist who advertised his services to the public as a painter of commissioned works refused his services to an interracial couple because interracial marriages violated his religious beliefs.In July 2015, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries awarded $135,000 to the Bowman-Cryers.Phillips appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing he deserved a religious exemption based on the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech and free exercise of religion.”In many ways there are a lot of parallels between this case and that [Denver] one”, said P.K. Runkles-Pearson, who filed an amicus brief on behalf of Bowman-Cryer.In either case, one of the most divisive issues of the Texas Legislature’s 85th session will have been catapulted to national prominence. But that was vetoed by Gov. Doug Ducey who said he wants more children adopted – and does not particularly care if the parents are straight or gay. “Or a mixed-race couple”, said Ellis.If this Colorado case will prosper, it could affect 22 other states that have the same cases regarding producing products or rendering services for same-sex couples, The Washington Post reported.Louisiana’s admitting privileges law remains in court because the state appealed a ruling by District Judge John deGravelles that cited the Supreme Court’s decision on the Texas law. The men married in MA and wanted to buy a cake from Phillips for their Denver reception.”Religious freedom does not give you the right to discriminate”, said ACLU spokesman Mark Silverstein. It’s been almost a year since Phillips filed his appeal to the Supreme Court, so some had predicted that the Supreme Court was preparing to pass on the case.”I just don’t make cakes for every occasion that people ask for”, he said.The Supreme Court will hear Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission during its next term, which begins in October.