Supreme Court’s ‘religious liberty’ case could ripple in Georgia

Jennifer Marshall and Summer Ingram, with the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, who said they support “traditional marriage” outside of the Supreme Court Friday June 26, 2015, in Washington, before the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in a case that could have major implications for Georgia’s long-running “religious liberty” debate and draw a new line between what constitutes discrimination and First Amendment rights.

The high court will hear a case today between a Denver-area wedding cake maker and the gay couple he turned down in 2012 because of his Christian beliefs. The couple sued in Colorado court, citing the state’s anti-discrimination law, and won. The baker then appealed to the Supreme Court, teeing up the case that’s expected to become one of the body’s most high profile this session.

The baker says he is protected by the First Amendment, since his cakes constitutes art. The couple argues the law is clear: that business owners can’t discriminate when selling products or services to the public.

Spectators started lining up outside of the court on Capitol Hill this weekend to grab a coveted spot in the courtroom for oral arguments. Depending on how the justices rule this spring, their decision could impact how far businesses can go in standing up to government regulations, from health care to labor.

The case is being closely watched in Georgia, where the issue of religious liberty continues to reverberate in the Legislature and the gubernatorial race.

Gov. Nathan Deal continues to take heat from social conservatives for vetoing a bill in 2016 that would have allowed faith-based organizations to deny services to those who violate their “sincerely held religious belief.”

Each of the leading Republican candidates to replace him has pledged to sign the legislation if presented it, and some supporters hope to revive the debate next year even though Deal warns it could jeopardize the state’s hunt for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Meanwhile, related fights over transgender bathroom access and the state’s adoption laws promise to return when the legislature reconvenes in January.

The Trump administration has come out in favor of the baker, as have conservative Georgia Congressman Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk and Rick Allen in a friend of the court filing. The state’s two most liberal congressmen, John Lewis and Hank Johnson, signed onto a brief supporting the gay couple. 

Reader Comments 1

22 comments
Weyman Cochran
Weyman Cochran

He's arguing the wrong right , he should use his right to unlimited contracting or in this case not contracting no reason necessary .

rdamrak
rdamrak

My religion is gayism. We are having services upcoming   It's a choice just like you have made.  You can't discriminate against my religion either.

jezel-dog / Coach - me
jezel-dog / Coach - me

Just be aware that Bannon....the alt right....white supremacist...trump.... and the GOP by being complicit.....


believe that secularism ( separation of church and state ) is the greatest threat to America


Secularism is a pillow of our democracy that is under attack....as is....our election process...the free press....the intell community...the courts....free speech...freedom to assemble and protest....freedom to TAKE A KNEE


All are under attack this very day.

GMAB
GMAB

Putting two men on a wedding cake is the appearance of evil. Abstain.

NeboSuki1
NeboSuki1

@GMAB trump and those who voted for him are indeed EVIL!!!

RednecksKing72
RednecksKing72

@GMAB  putting roy moore in the Senate is the appearance of eveil, well unless you agree with sexually harassing 14 year old children

An American Patriot
An American Patriot

WHEN the SCOTUS rules for the BAKER, the baker should sue the "couple" for millions in damages for loss of business and for anguish.  This whole thing was done for spite and nothing else.

RufusATL
RufusATL

@An American Patriot "This whole thing was done for spite and nothing else."

Source?  If you do not have a source for your statement, you should have prefaced your statement with "in my opinion."

Wes30144
Wes30144

Unreported fact, the baker offered to make a cake, they only thing he wouldn't do was to put the man & man wedding topper on it. And for that he has been terrorized, threatened and had his business almost destroyed.

Atlantarama
Atlantarama

A business has to treat everyone equally; otherwise, it’s discrimination. How complicated is that?

Rickster_
Rickster_

@Atlantarama Would you force a Jewish deli owner to fix you a BLT? Would you force a Muslim restaurant to offer ham on its menu? If not... why would you force the baker to violate his religious beliefs? 

#LawDawg2014
#LawDawg2014

@Rickster_ @Atlantarama  If the Jewish deli owner has the ingredients for a BLT then one should be made. If the Muslim restaurant does not offer ham, then there is no reason to request it. Your two examples are far different than the case at bar.

#LawDawg2014
#LawDawg2014

@Rickster_ @#LawDawg2014 @Atlantarama  Cake toppers? Focus on what has actually occurred.

The baker does stock and make wedding cakes and is quoted as saying the following: “I’ll make you birthday cakes, shower cakes, cookies, brownies ... I just can’t make a cake for a same-sex wedding".

Rickster_
Rickster_

@#LawDawg2014 @Rickster_ @Atlantarama He said they could buy a cake already made and decorate it themselves. He refused to decorate it for a same-sex marriage. They were not denied a cake, They were denied his creativity.

WW5
WW5

if you are open for business to the public, you serve anyone that has the coin of the realm and provide them your product.  nobody asked the cake maker to do anything illegal or immoral.

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