Masterpiece Cakeshop Amicus Brief
September 12, 2017
Right of Conscience Brief filed with the Supreme Court of the United States with the question presented whether, consistent with the First Amendment, an individual may be compelled, under color of nondiscrimination laws, to devote his or her creative efforts to the creation of custom products or services to be used to celebrate an event or relationship that he or she believes, by reason of faith or personal conviction, is immoral.
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT Amici urge that it is inescapable that how this Court treats conscience and religious conviction in the present case will greatly influence how courts, legislatures, regulators and even citizens around the country treat the life-and-death issues of faith and conscience that confront medical professionals. In Obergefell, this Court “emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.” Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S.Ct. 2584, 2607 (2015). Now, just two years later, Respondents ask this Court to approve an application of state law that would force Mr. Phillips to “condone” same-sex marriage by both his active assistance and his symbolic expression, seriously compromising his ability to “advocate with the utmost, sincere conviction” against such marriages. Similarly, despite this Court’s recognition in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), of the widespread existence of “vigorous opposing views” and “seemingly absolute convictions” against abortion “even among physicians,” id. at 116, and despite the widespread enactment of state and federal conscience protection statutes to ensure respect for those convictions, the decision in Roe has led to ironic demands that individual medical professionals must perform, assist with, or facilitate abortions, without regard to the teachings of their own faiths, consciences, and convictions.