Attorney General Becerra Takes Action in Defense of Same-Sex Couple Denied Wedding Cake

Monday, October 30, 2017
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today joined Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Hawai’i Attorney General Doug Chin and the attorneys general of 18 states in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in Masterpiece Cakeshops, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case involves a Colorado bakery owner who refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple, citing religious beliefs and freedom of speech rights, in violation of a state civil rights law.

“There is no room for discrimination in our Constitution,” said Attorney General Becerra. “As a nation, we’ve made tremendous progress in advancing equality for members of the LGBTQ community. California has a long and proud history of embracing diverse religious views, freedom of speech, and artistic expression, without creating anti-LGBTQ exceptions.”

Public accommodation laws like California’s and those at issue in this case prohibit discrimination in all business establishments based upon specified protected characteristics such as race, gender, national origin, and sexual orientation.  In the brief, the States assert that public accommodation laws not only serve a compelling interest to ensure equal access to goods and services, but also to combat the severe personal, economic, and social impacts caused by discrimination. The States also argue that enforcing Colorado’s public accommodation laws in this case does not violate the First Amendment’s protections for freedom of expression or free exercise of religion.

Attorney General Becerra is committed to standing up for equality for the LGBTQ community in California and across the nation – including protecting LGBTQ families and employees, and transgender studentsveterans and servicemembers.

A copy of the amicus brief is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.

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