FFRF has filed an amicus brief in the famous case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court about whether a baker can refuse a cake to a gay couple.
Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission seeks to radically redefine “religious freedom” as the right to impose one’s religious beliefs on others. Commercial businesses seeking exemptions from anti-discrimination laws are a prime example of this alarming argument. A Colorado baker refused to bake a cake for a gay marriage, contending his rights under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment let his place of public accommodation discriminate against gay customers.
The Supreme Court has historically rejected free exercise challenges to neutral laws that regulate action, especially actions that harm other citizens.
There is no logical or practical way to draw a line between religiously motivated racial discrimination and racial discrimination motivated by nonreligious beliefs.
The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment does not mean that anyone with a religious objection be permitted to disregard this religiously neutral anti-discrimination law.
Elevating religion and actions based on religious beliefs above the law by granting them exemptions to general and neutrally applicable laws will create chaos and have far-reaching effects, FFRF maintains.
Discrimination against atheists will increase. The bakery admits that its owner refuses to design custom cakes that “promote atheism,” along with those that promote “racism, or indecency.” Given that the company regards selling any wedding cake to a gay couple as “promoting gay marriage,” it’s easy to see how a desire not to “promote atheism” might similarly result in a refusal of service based on a customer’s atheism.
FFRF’s interest in this case arises from the fact that most of its members are atheists or nonbelievers, as are the members of the public it serves
FFRF’s Managing Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert is the Counsel of Record on the brief, with principal writing by FFRF Staff Attorney Elizabeth Cavell.