DOJ brief in gay rights case slammed by advocates

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice has again filed an amicus brief against gay civil rights in a case up for consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court.

From NBC Out:

Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission involves Christian baker Jack Phillips, who refused — due to his religious beliefs — to make a wedding cake for same-sex couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig.

Lower courts sided with the couple, stating that Philips’ refusal violated Colorado’s non-discrimination law (Colorado is one of 21 states that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation). However, Phillips appealed these rulings to the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear the case this fall.

“Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights,” Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall, who authored the brief along with the DOJ’s legal team, wrote.

Last month, the DOJ submitted another amicus brief in the case of Zarda v. Altitude Express. There, the DOJ sided with the defendant to argue that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not entitle lesbians, gays and bisexuals to workplace non-discrimination protections.

Activists are calling the brief a license to discriminate from the 45 administration.

“Once again, the Trump-Pence Administration has taken direct aim at our nation’s progress on LGBTQ equality, this time urging the Supreme Court to grant a potentially sweeping license to discriminate against same-sex couples,” Sarah Warbelow, legal director for LGBTQ advocacy organization Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.