As the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments in the case of a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, a group of 1,300 faith leaders has filed an amicus brief asking the court force him to bake the cake.
At the center of the dispute is Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, whose case will be heard before the high court on Dec. 5.
That brief, which includes various theological liberals and people from a variety of religious traditions, argues that equal protection under the law must take precedence and that the Supreme Court must not allow discrimination.
“[We] unite in believing it is both morally wrong and not constitutionally required to permit blanket discrimination in the public marketplace for goods and services based on the personal religious beliefs of merchants with respect to same-sex couples’ rights and relationships,” the document reads.
The text continues, “[We] believe that, to the contrary, public accommodation laws should be applied on the basis of religiously neutral principles of equal protection under the law.”
The document argues that Phillips shouldn’t be permitted to use the First Amendment as a way out of anti-discrimination laws, and proclaims that the baker “has every right to his religious beliefs concerning marriage and to lawfully act on those beliefs in his personal and religious life” but that this right doesn’t carry over into the marketplace.
“Once he held himself out as a baker marketing wedding cakes to the general public, he became subject to public accommodation laws,” the text continues. “If he refused to bake a cake for an interracial couple on the ground that his religion taught him that marriages can properly exist only between persons of the same race, we respectfully submit that few would give this objection much credence.”
In addition to making these arguments, the brief also noted that many religious traditions don’t see any conflict at all between LGBTQ rights and the rights of people of faith. In fact, as time goes on, the text notes that there are increasing numbers within various religious communities that welcome these people into the fold without question.
“Any suggestion that ‘religion’ or ‘people of faith’ as a whole reject LGBT equality is false and, frankly, insulting to millions of Americans of faith,” the document reads.
As Faithwire previously reported, the brief comes just days after a group of African American pastors and faith leaders came together to publicly back Phillips, launching the #WeGotYourBackJack campaign.
“The freedom to make decisions based upon our faith is being challenged. Colorado cake artist, Jack Phillips, serves everyone, but he doesn’t use his creative expression for every event,” reads a description on the campaign’s website. “When a cake artist declines to design a cake for a Halloween party, the world goes about its business. But if that same cake artist declines a request for a custom cake for a same-sex wedding, he is forced to defend his decision all the way to the United States Supreme Court.”
Additionally, other groups have filed amicus briefs in support of Phillips, as The Christian Post noted.