Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has joined the leaders of other major religious groups in signing an amicus brief in support of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in the Supreme Court Case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
The case focuses on a baker who declined to make a cake for a reception after a same-sex wedding, an action that Colorado courts determined violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
In his capacity as Presiding Bishop and in exercising his responsibility to speak on behalf of the Episcopal Church and to “speak God’s word to the church and the world,” Presiding Bishop Curry joined the leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, and the Chicago Theological Seminary (United Church of Christ) in signing the brief.
The brief argues that:
- Laws that prohibit discrimination by businesses operating in the public marketplace — “public accommodations laws” — protect religious liberty by prohibiting discrimination based on religion while also exempting religious institutions from their application, so that houses of worship may exercise religion freely within their walls.
- Such laws also further religious values by protecting human dignity, by guarding minority groups from the humiliation in the marketplace that arises from being denied service on a discriminatory basis.
- While the sincerity of the bakeshop owner’s religious beliefs are not questioned, by entering the public marketplace the bakeshop subjected itself to Colorado’s laws governing public accommodations, including the statute forbidding discrimination. The Constitution’s guarantee of religious liberty does not require granting the bakeshop an exception from Colorado’s public accommodations law, where the statute is limited to commercial activity and does not require the bakeshop to directly participate in a religious ceremony.
Adapted from the Office of Public Affairs