Protesters meet in the United States Supreme Court on
December 5 before the hearing of an emblematic case combining
discrimination and religious belief
Is a wedding cake a form of artistic expression that can be
denied to a homosexual couple for religious reasons? This
question, to say the least, is very seriously debated on
Tuesday at the Supreme Court in Washington, with vast
challenges for American society.
In this iconic affair, a Colorado State pastry chef, Jack
Phillips, and two married men, Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig,
The aborted commercial transaction dates back to July 19,
2012. Nobody imagined at the time that we would talk five years
later at the top of the US judicial power.
On Tuesday morning, dozens of activists from both sides were
quietly demonstrating in the Supreme Court.
The signs in support of the baker posted: „I love freedom of
expression“ or „Justice for Jack“.
LGBT activists denounced them as „sectarianism“. „I am
Catholic and lesbian,“ said an activist on a billboard.
Hannah Boltz, an 18-year-old high school girl, spent the
night wrapped in a sleeping bag in hopes of attending the
„We discussed this case in class, if I listen to my morals,
the couple should be able to get their cake, but if I listen to
the Constitution, the pastry chef has the right to refuse
because it’s his private business,“ he said. she.
Relying on his Christian faith, Jack Phillips simply
explained in his pastry shop in the Denver suburb of
„Masterpiece Cakeshop“ that he could not take an order from MM.
Mullins and Craig.
The two spouses then lodged a complaint on the basis of a
Colorado law prohibiting discrimination against shops that were
open to the public.
– Art against his will? –
Undated photo, provided on December 4, 2017 by
Defending Freedom Alliance, of pastry chef Jack Phillips
decorating a cake in his shop in Lakewood, Colorado
Then the file grew, taking a heavy political and emotional
charge because of the principles dear to the Americans:
religious freedom, sexual equality and the freedom of
expression protected by the first amendment of the United
The pastry cook’s lawyers ensure that the cake represents
the institution of marriage and therefore conveys a message,
unlike a banal croissant.
„Jack serves all those who pass his door, whatever their
background and their background, but, like any artist, he can
not express any message,“ says Jeremy Tedesco, a defender of
„Should a T-shirt designer, an atheist, be forced to make
t-shirts proclaiming: + God exists +? Should a Democratic
speechwriter be forced to write a speech for a Republican
politician, and vice versa? „says the lawyer.
In the camp of Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, one avoids
falling into the trap of the legal debate on the symbol of the
cake, denouncing a sexual discrimination.
„This case does not concern artistic freedom, we did not ask
for a work of art, we were refused based on who we are, we were
publicly humiliated because of who we are“, says to the AFP
Dave Mullins, came to Washington with Charlie Craig.
In recent weeks, legions of lawyers and lobbyists have
campaigned for the couple or for the pastry chef.
Jack Phillips is backed by more than 20 US states, dozens of
congressional officials, and all that America has from
conservative Christian groups.
But most of all, he rallied Donald Trump’s government,
saying that Phillips can not be forced to use his talents in
violation of his religious beliefs.
The homosexual couple is defended by
the American Union for Civil Liberties (ACLU) and many
organizations convinced that a defeat on the front of the
rights of homosexuals would be followed by other setbacks for
the civil rights.
– Florists, hairdressers … –
„Religion has been used in the past to try to defend
slavery, segregation, discrimination,“ says Dariely Rodriguez
of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
According to her, the Masterpiece Cakeshop case is
comparable to a case dating back to 1968 in which the owner of
a barbeque chain refused to serve blacks because of his
If Jack Phillips has an exception in the name of his
artistic freedom, warns Ms. Rodriguez, it „would become
applicable to businesses outside marriage: would be concerned
with the arts of the table, hairdressers, barbers, fashion
shops. would be endless „.
The pastry cook’s lawyer rejects the racial analogy.
„Race has nothing to do with what defines a marriage
Marriage as a union between a man and a woman is a belief
rooted in the world’s greatest religions – Judaism, Islam and
Christianity – whatever the time, the cultures or the races,
After the formal hearing on Tuesday, the Supreme Court will
render its decision by the end of June 2018.