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Does someone get to deny same-sex marriage services if it is against their religious beliefs?

The question of whether the addition of Neil Gorsuch would make the Supreme Court more conservative may have been answered. The Supreme Court has taken a case that exemplifies a number of recent decisions by business owners to refuse services for homosexual couples getting married.

In December 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins went to Masterpiece Cakeshop to get a cake for their upcoming wedding reception. Even though Colorado did not legalize gay marriage until 2014, the couple was planning to go to Massachusetts to elope. The baker, Jack Phillips, refused to make the cake on grounds of religious freedom.

The couple filed a complaint stating the refusal violates the anti-discrimination law of Colorado, which includes sexual orientation. Colorado is one of 21 states which have anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation. The courts sided with the couple.

The Supreme Court’s move to take on the Colorado case stands in contrast to 2014 when the Supreme Court decided not to take a case of a wedding photographer that refused to work at a lesbian wedding. The issue of religious freedom and homosexual marriage have both had large rulings in their respective favor recently. In 2015 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalizing gay marriage and earlier this year a flower shop in Washington was declared guilty of discrimination for refusing to provide services for a same-sex marriage.

Religious groups argue that they should not be forced to perform services that are against their religious beliefs. On the other side, LGBT organizations state that legally protecting religious freedom creates a loophole for discrimination.

Resources
  • World Religion News
  • Washington Post
  • USA Today
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