Trump lawyers take sides against same-sex couple in major Supreme Court case

Louise Melling, deputy legal counsel for the Americans Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), expressed dismay at the filing.
By Ed Mason | Sep 11, 2017
In a move that will be seen as another sign that the Trump administration is hostile to gay rights, the Justice Department on Thursday filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Louise Melling, deputy legal counsel for the Americans Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), expressed dismay at the filing.

"Even in an administration that has already made its hostility toward the gay community clear," Melling said, in a report by The Washington Post. "I find this nothing short of shocking."

Justice Department attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief agreeing with the baker, Jack Phillips, that because his religion condemns gay marriage and his cakes are a form of expression, he cannot be compelled to "express" himself in a way that violates his religious principles.

But others, including Laura Durso, vice president of the LGBT Research and Communications Project Center at Center for American Progress, say Attorney General Jeff Sessions is systematically acting to weaken protections for the LGBT community.

"It is always significant when the government weighs in on cases and the Department of Justice's briefs show a clear misunderstanding of what religious freedom is," said Durst, in a report by U.S. News & World Report. "Businesses that open themselves to the public need to serve everyone on equal footing. Business owners are free to hold any number of religious beliefs, but they cannot pick and choose who they serve."

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