NC Family signed on to a “friend-of-the-court” brief this week, which will be filed with the U.S. Supreme Court urging the justices to support the religious freedom rights of a small business owner from Colorado in the upcoming case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The High Court is expected to hear the case later this year.
Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is a vitally important religious liberty case described by some as the religious freedom equivalent of Roe v. Wade. The question before the court is whether Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, can be compelled by the government to convey a message that goes against his religious conscience.
“Jack Phillips, like so many hardworking Americans, simply seeks the freedom to live and work consistent with his deeply-held religious beliefs. We urge the Court to protect this freedom that is so vital to American democracy,” said NC Family President John L. Rustin. “We were excited to sign on to this brief so that the millions of North Carolinians who care deeply about religious liberty could have their case made before the U.S. Supreme Court.”
The amicus brief was filed on behalf of 33 family policy organizations, including NC Family. David French, a former attorney at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and current Senior Fellow at the National Review Institute, authored the brief. These groups argue that, even in times of great distress, such as World War II, the Supreme Court has upheld the rights of individuals to live their lives in accordance with their consciences, free from government coercion or retribution.
“This brief will relate stories of artists who refused to reproduce Bible verses they found objectionable, design clothing for politicians they dislike, or to recreate flags of American enemies,” the brief says. “But it will also go beyond, illustrating how corporations now view the decision to do business itself as a political act, granting or withholding economic opportunity on the basis of the rights of conscience of their leaders, employees, and shareholders.”
In its conclusion, the brief states: “It is important to remember that this Court has clearly distinguished the constitutional right to marry from any legal obligation to adopt the state’s view about the nature of marriage. Writing for the majority in Obergefell, Justice Kennedy was clear: ‘Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.’”