Traverse City Commission to lend voice to Colorado cake discrimination case

Masterpiece Cakeshop versus the Colorado Civil Rights Commission weighs equal rights and religious liberty.

Traverse City will weigh in on a major Supreme Court case that weighs equal rights and religious liberty.

On Monday, commissioners voted 6 to 1 in favor of joining an amicus brief for Masterpiece Cakeshop versus the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Commissioner Richard Lewis voted against joining.

Lewis says he voted no because he felt the commission deserved more time to consider the topic.

"It was placed as a special item on the agenda," said Lewis. "We got notice of it on Friday. The deadline for taking action was Monday night. I believe the mayor and city attorney has this in front of them for some time. I just don't like dealing with such issues on such short notice."

Fellow commissioner, Brian Haas, echoed Lewis' concerns, but still voted 'yes.'

Traverse City is one of dozens of other local governments across the country that have now sided with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

The case involves Christian baker Jack Phillips, who refused, due to his religious beliefs, to make a wedding cake for same-sex couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig.

Lower courts sided with the couple, stating that Philips' refusal violated Colorado’s non-discrimination law. However, Phillips appealed these rulings to the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear the case soon.

The Department of Justice has also submitted a brief, saying that forcing Phillips to participate in an act that violates his religious beliefs, is an invasion of his First Amendment rights.

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