Tag Archives: public accomidation

Eighth Circuit Court Split Decision Supports "Christian" Videographers Denying Service To Gay Couple

Eighth Circuit Court Split Decision Supports “Christian” Videographers Denying Service To Gay Couple

A split decision of the Eighth Circuit Court on Friday cleared the way Friday for two “Christian” videographers to sue the state of Minnesota over the right to refuse to film same-sex weddings, arguing that the videos are a form of speech subject to First Amendment protections.

Carl and Angel Larsen, who run a Christian videography business called Telescope Media Group, filed a federal suit in 2016 against Minnesota’s human rights commissioner, saying the state’s public accommodation law could hit them with steep fines or jail time if they offered services promoting only their vision of marriage.

U.S. District Judge John Tunheim in Minneapolis originally dismissed their case after finding that their professional policy of promoting marriage as a bond between one man and one woman was akin to posting a sign that said “white applicants only.”

Reversing the previous ruling Friday, a divided three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit emphasized that the Larsens have a First Amendment right “to choose when to speak and what to say.”

“Even anti-discrimination laws, as critically important as they are, must yield to the Constitution,” U.S. Circuit Judge David Stras wrote for the panel’s 2-1 majority,

“And as compelling as the interest in preventing discriminatory conduct may be, speech is treated differently under the First Amendment.”

Stras cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1995 landmark decision in Hurley vs. Irish American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston, which held that private organizations, even if they were planning on and had permits for a public demonstration, were permitted to exclude groups if those groups presented a message contrary to the one the organizing group wanted to convey.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison blasted the holding.

“This split decision today marks a shocking reversal of Minnesota’s evolution toward equality for LGBTQ people — with consequences for the entire country,” Ellison said in a statement. “A ruling that lets a business discriminate against LGBTQ folks today would let it discriminate on the basis of religion, race, gender, ability, or any other category it chooses tomorrow. The decision smacks of other dark moments in our nation’s history when courts have infamously upheld discrimination.”

The LGBT hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the bigoted couple, lauded the decision.

“This is a significant win. The government shouldn’t threaten filmmakers with fines and jail time to force them to create films that violate their beliefs,” ADF senior counsel Jeremy Tedesco said in a statement. We’re pleased that the 8th Circuit has affirmed that the Larsens’ films are fully protected speech and that the state lacks a compelling interest to force them to express messages through their films that violate their deeply held convictions.”

U.S. Circuit Judge Jane Kelley wrote in dissent Friday that her colleagues’ ruling marks the first time a court has “afforded ‘affirmative constitutional protections to private discrimination.”

While the First Amendment does protect religious and philosophical objections to same-sex marriage, Kelley said that right does not entitle business owners to deny protected personals equal access to goods and services.

Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Anti-Gay Baker. Reactions. and Read The FULL SCOTUS RULING

Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Anti-Gay Baker. Reactions. and Read The FULL SCOTUS RULING

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled 7-2 in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because it went against his religious beliefs.

The justices, in a decision signed by Justice Anthony Kennedy, said Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, did not violate the state’s anti-discrimination law.

The decision faulted the Colorado Civil Right Commission for violating the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution by making Phillips bake the cake even though he opposed doing so on religious grounds.

“The laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect gay persons and gay couples in the exercise of their civil rights, but religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views, in some instances protected forms of expression,” the majority opinion stated.

The ruling went on to blast comments made during the commission’s hearing that denigrated Phillips’ faith and included remarks that compared his belief in religious freedom to past instances when it was used to justify discrimination like slavery and the Holocaust.

“This sentiment is inappropriate for a commission charged with the solemn responsibility of fair and neutral enforcement of Colorado’s anti-discrimination law — a law that protects discrimination on the basis of religion as well as sexual orientation,” Kennedy said.

The ACLU, which represented Mullins and Craig, said the ruling actually affirms that businesses cannot discriminate.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights continues:

Today’s Supreme Court decision in Masterpiece Cakeshopis a narrow, fact-based decision that does not break any new constitutional ground or create any new exemptions to anti-discrimination laws. The Court reversed the state court decision only because it found that the record in this case indicated that the Colorado Commission’s deliberations were tainted by anti-religious hostility.

Of course extremist right wing hate groups and Christian Nationalist are calling this a victoy

This is a victory for Jack Phillips and our nation’s long cherished freedom of following one’s deeply held beliefs without fear of government punishment. The Supreme Court made clear that the government has no authority to discriminate against Jack Phillips because of his religious beliefs.

Misguided government officials singled out Jack’s religious beliefs for discriminatory treatment – but that isn’t freedom, it’s tyranny. It’s simply un-American to force people like Jack to compromise their religious beliefs just because they are disfavored by those who have used government entities like this Colorado government commission.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court’s ruling means Jack will remain free to live according to his beliefs whether he is at work, at home, or in his place of worship. As Americans, our consensus on religious freedom has historically recognized the God-given right of Americans to live all aspects of their lives according to their faith. This is no different today. – Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council hate group

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JUSTICE GINSBURG and JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR were the two dissenting Supreme Court judges..

Phillips’ refusal to serve Craig and Mullins: Phillips would not sell to Craig and Mullins, for no reason other than their sexual orientation, a cake of the kind he regularly sold to others. When a couple contacts a bakery for a wedding cake, the product they are seeking is a cake celebrating their wed­ding—not a cake celebrating heterosexual weddings or same-sex weddings—and that is the service Craig and Mullins were denied.

You can read the SUPREME COURTS FULL RULING BY CLICKING HERE