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By Kevin Daley
The Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear a landmark religious liberty case concerning the rights of merchants who object to participating in same-sex weddings given their moral and theological convictions.
The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, has been pending before the high court for months. Most legal observers believed the justices would not grant the case given this unusually long interval.
The controversy arose after the proprietor of a Colorado bakery, Jack Phillips, declined to produce a wedding cake for an LGBT couple. Phillips’ lawyers say he is a “Christian who strives to honor God in all aspects of his life, including his art.”
“As a Christian, Phillips believes that God ordained marriage as the sacred union between one man and one woman, a union that exemplifies the relationship of Christ and His Church,” Phillips’ petition to the Court reads. “And Phillips’ religious conviction compels him to create cakes celebrating only marriages that are consistent with his understanding of God’s design.”
The justices must now decide whether the state’s public accommodations law requires Phillips “to create expression that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage violates the Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.”