WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ — Life Legal has collaborated with the Bioethics Defense Fund in an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court yesterday in Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The brief was written on behalf of the American College of Pediatricians and other pro-life health professionals.
As you may be aware, the Masterpiece case involves a baker who was asked to create a cake for the wedding of a same-sex couple. The baker, Jack Phillips, said he could not use his artistic talents to give approval to a marriage that violated his religious beliefs. In response, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission said Phillips’ religious beliefs were illegal and prohibited him from designing any wedding cakes, which resulted in the loss of 40% of his business. The Commission imposed draconian reporting requirements on Phillips, forcing him to provide a detailed account of the reasons for any orders he declines.
So why would Life Legal, a pro-life law firm, file a Supreme Court brief in support of a baker?
If the State of Colorado can destroy Phillips’ business because he chooses not to use his skills to create a product that expresses the state’s sentiment on a controversial issue, what is to stop a state from forcing any professional to violate his or her deeply held belief in furtherance of the state’s viewpoint?
Our concern is that the Masterpiece Cakeshop case is “likely to have rapid and lasting impact on the rights of medical professionals to practice their professions consistently with their consciences and the teachings of their faiths on issues of life and death-or indeed to practice their professions at all.”
“Masterpiece Cakeshop has enormous implications for the First Amendment rights of everyone in the workplace, especially those whose deeply held beliefs require them to opt out of certain practices,” said Life Legal Defense Foundation Executive Director Alexandra Snyder. “We have seen increasing pressure on health care professionals, in particular, to perform or facilitate abortions or risk losing their livelihoods. Life Legal trusts that the Supreme Court will adhere to precedent in guarding First Amendment freedoms, including protections against laws compelling speech and activities that violate religious and conscience objections.”