Wednesday, June 25, 2014
June 24, 2014
Brian Brown, president of National Organization for Marriage, addresses supporters of a traditional marriage rally at Utah's State Capitol building in Salt Lake City, Utah January 28, 2014.
The Internal Revenue Service will pay $50,000 to the National Organization for Marriage due to the leaking of its confidential tax documents to the Human Rights Campaign.
The judgment means that the IRS has now admitted that it was the source of the confidential information, John Eastman, chairman of NOM and part of the legal team that brought the suit, explained in a Tuesday phone interview with The Christian Post.
In 2012, HRC published confidential tax documents listing 2008 NOM donors.
The two groups are political opponents. HRC supports redefining marriage to include same-sex couples while NOM supports the traditional definition of marriage.
The list included former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who, it was clear at the time, would become the Republican presidential nominee. Several liberal news sites, such as The Huffington Post, republished the list.
After the list was published, Joe Solmonese left his position as president of HRC to become national co-chairman of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign. In that new position, he criticized Romney for donating to NOM's defense of marriage efforts. Romney, he argued, helped fund "a hate-filled campaign."
Someone at the IRS gave the confidential documents to Matthew Meisel, a gay rights activist, the lawsuit revealed through emails between Meisel and a colleague. When asked to testify, Meisel invoked his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself and refused to reveal who at the IRS provided him with the documents.
While admitting guilt, the IRS claims the release of the documents was an inadvertent mistake because it failed to redact the confidential information. This story, though, is inconsistent with the Meisel emails in which he claimed to know a "conduit" within the IRS to obtain the information, Eastman said.
NOM has asked the Department of Justice to offer immunity to Meisel so that he can reveal his source within the IRS without fear of prosecution. Justice has said it will neither pursue prosecution of nor offer immunity to Meisel.
NOM will be looking into how to proceed with future cases, Eastman added. There are other potential civil actions that NOM could pursue, including suing Meisel, HRC or The Huffington Post.
While HRC quickly removed the confidential information from its website after NOM informed HRC the documents were confidential, the documents are still available at The Huffington Post. Under federal law, it is a felony to publish tax documents that are known to be confidential.
Monday, June 23, 2014
By ASSOCIATED PRESS | 6/23/14
COLD SPRING, N.Y. — New York's first openly gay member of Congress has married his longtime partner.
Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney exchanged vows Saturday with Randy Gene Florke at the Church of St. Mary-in-the-Highlands in Cold Spring.
Florke proposed in December after the youngest of their three children wrote to Santa wishing for her parents to be married.
The 47-year-old Maloney represents the lower Hudson Valley region. He is one of two members of Congress married to a same-sex partner.
The 51-year-old Florke is a real estate and design executive at a New York City firm he founded in 1996.
They've been together 22 years and have three children, ages 11 to 24.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent congratulations via Twitter.
Friday, June 20, 2014
June 20, 2014|5:30 am
Crowds marching from the U.S. Capitol Building to the U.S. Supreme Court as part of the second annual March for Marriage, held in Washington on Thursday, June 19, 2014.
WASHINGTON – Only recently out of "personal passions" have people tried to change the definition of marriage, and that is not a valid reason to change such a long-lasting institution, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee told The Christian Post while at the Second Annual March for Marriage on Thursday
History has one definition for marriage, said Huckabee, who was a featured speaker at the event.
"If we look at history, history has only one real view and that is marriage is between one man and one woman," Huckabee explained. "You don't have a lot of history of any other version of marriage and when you do, it doesn't last very long."
He also told CP that he opted to speak at the March for Marriage as a way of showing that he and other social conservatives support something rather than oppose.
"I think it's so important that people of faith, and frankly even people who believe that marriage is the foundation and cornerstone of society, are here," said Huckabee. "Not to express what we're against, because this isn't about being against something. This is about being for marriage. And that's why we're here."
Crowds gather at the Second Annual March for Marriage, held outside the U.S. Capitol Building on Thursday, June 19, 2014.
Held outside of the U.S. Capitol Building, the Second Annual March for Marriage brought thousands of people from across the country to demonstrate for traditional marriage.
Sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage, the event was also officially supported by other groups including the Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, The Frederick Douglas Foundation, Concerned Women for America, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and the Coalition of African-American Pastors.
Among the diverse audience, a large number of Hispanics were in attendance and the rally reflected this ethnic presence.
Many of the presentations and rally signs were in Spanish as well as English, with hundreds of people from the crowd periodically participating in Spanish chants. "Quien vive?" (who lives?) shouted one of the speakers. "Cristo!" (Christ!), replied the audience.
Crowds gather at the second annual March for Marriage event held outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 19, 2014.
As busloads of attendees arrived, a contemporary Christian band led worship with NOM President Brian Brown giving opening remarks and introducing the various speakers.
In their assorted remarks, speakers stressed the importance of children having a mother and a father, addressing throngs of attendees on Thursday morning.
After the speeches, the rally concluded and the large number of demonstrators marched to the nearby United States Supreme Court building.
Crowds marching from the U.S. Capitol to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington as part of the second annual March for Marriage on Thursday, June 19, 2014.
Christopher Plante, spokesman with NOM, told CP before the official start of the rally that they were "thrilled" by the turnout already apparent as they arrived at the site.
"We're very excited, we came in on the bus just a few minutes ago to see all these people already here an hour early," said Plante, who stressed that the marriage definition debate was not over.
"It's absolutely not over. The battle for marriage, family is just beginning here. We will make a stand today," said Plante. "They can send a message to the Supreme Court, to the Congress that we want marriage defended in the law, politics, and culture."
In addition to Huckabee, others who spoke below the Capitol Dome included Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; the Rev. Ruben Diaz, New York State Senator and president of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization; Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., founder and president of the High Impact Leadership Coalition; and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
June 17, 2014
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Iraq from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington June 13, 2014. Obama said on Friday he will take several days to review options for how the United States can help Iraq deal with a militant insurgency, saying any action would need significant involvement by Iraq itself.
Some Christian groups are worried that President Barack Obama's forthcoming executive order guaranteeing the protection of LGBT individuals from employment discrimination with businesses that have federal contracts may not have sufficient religious liberty protections.
While the order has not yet been written up, concerns have been leveled by various individuals that the order might not include a religious exemption and would force faith-based groups to engage in hiring practices that are in opposition to the teachings of their faith.
"The big question is: will the Executive Order drive out faith-based organizations out of federal contracting?" Stanley Carlson-Thies, founder and president of Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance, wrote in an email to supporters. "The federal government doesn't contract only for aircraft carriers, janitorial services, and IT expertise. It also contracts for research, consulting, and technical assistance, and, increasingly, for social services-particularly USAID and the Bureau of Prisons contract for social services."
In a statement released Tuesday, American Family Association President Tim Wildmon said he believed the move will further threaten Christian businesses.
"If the proposed order is issued, a Christian who owns a business that contracts with the federal government will not be able to use homosexuality or transgender identity as factor in employment decisions, regardless of the business owner's faith convictions," stated Wildmon.
"Furthermore, religious organizations that contract with the government to provide social services such as adoption assistance, disaster relief, health care navigation, preschool education, drug rehabilitation and prison ministry, would be required to hire homosexuals against their convictions."
Wildmon also stated that the "existing Executive Order that governs employment nondiscrimination by federal contractors requires that the contractors maintain an Affirmative Action Program actively to recruit members of protected groups."
"If lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals are now considered a 'protected group,' then what's to stop the government from trying to force Christian businesses to actively recruit them as the price of contracting with the federal government?" said Wildmon.
The executive order is coming in part due to the failure of numerous attempts by LGBT groups to have the United States Congress pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
For decades, ENDA has been introduced into Congress only to be voted down by either the Senate or House of Representatives.
The most recent ENDA bill was introduced in 2013 by Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and included a religious exemption. Last fall the Senate voted 61 to 30 to bring the bill to the floor for a vote, a move seen as historic.
However Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio declared his intention to kill ENDA once it went to the lower house.
"The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.
Advocates for federal antidiscrimination legislation akin to ENDA or the executive order include the LGBT group the Human Rights Campaign.
Fred Sainz, vice president of Communications and Marketing at HRC, told The Christian Post that he felt the proposed executive order "provides much needed protections."
"The proposed executive order provides much needed protections to American workers who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender," said Sainz.
"The most American value of them all is to work and provide for your family and this executive order will provide protections to ensure that can happen."
Regarding concerns about religious exemptions, Sainz told CP that since there is no present draft of the executive order, "the question of religious protections is premature."
Monday, June 16, 2014
June 14, 2014|8:29 am
A federal judge "reluctantly" put same-sex marriages in Wisconsin on hold on Friday, a week after she struck down the state's gay nuptial ban as unconstitutional allowing nearly 600 licenses to be issued.
"After seeing the expressions of joy on the faces of so many newly wedded couples featured in media reports, I find it difficult to impose a stay on the event that is responsible for eliciting that emotion, even if the stay is only temporary," wrote U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb, who struck down the 2006 ban on same-sex marriage in a June 6 order without staying the ruling or clarifying if it takes effect immediately.
As a result, nearly 600 same-sex couples were granted marriage licenses in 60 counties in Wisconsin in the past week, according to USA Today. Another 12 counties declined to issue licenses.
On Friday, Crabb took note of the confusion that the ruling had created among county officials, but also indicated she was not responsible for it.
"They may have acted and they may have acted in response, but they did not act because I told them they could," she was quoted by Christian Science Monitor as telling lawyers in the hearing. "I never said anything about whether any county clerk could go forward with issuing a marriage license," she said. "That hasn't been decided."
The judge added, "Same-sex couples have waited many years to receive equal treatment under the law, so it is understandable that they do not want to wait any longer. However, a federal district court is required to follow the guidance provided by the Supreme Court."
The judge said she is having to grant the stay due to a U.S. Supreme Court stay that stopped gay couples from marrying in Utah after a federal judge struck down that state's ban in December.
"By staying this ruling, she has confirmed that Wisconsin's law regarding same-sex marriage remains in full force and effect," Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican, was quoted as saying.
Van Hollen also said his office will appeal Crabb's decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
John Knight, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who filed the case on behalf of same-sex couples, said they will quickly appeal the stay.
"In light of the decision of some county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, I will be filing emergency motions in the federal courts to stay Judge Crabb's order," the attorney general said after the June 6 ruling. "The United States Supreme Court, after a referral from Justice Sotomayor, stayed a lower court's decision striking down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage. There is no reason to believe the Supreme Court would treat Wisconsin's ban any differently."
Van Hollen said the decision is a "setback." "We'll continue to defend the constitutionality of our traditional marriage laws and the constitutional amendment, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters," he said.
Federal judges in many states have struck down state amendments and laws banning same-sex marriage as unconstitutional since the U.S. Supreme Court last June squashed a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.
Same-sex marriage is currently recognized in 19 states – California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington – and the District of Columbia.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
June 6, 2014: Jill Winkler, left, and Pamela Dietzler exchange rings as they are married at the Milwaukee County Courthouse in Milwaukee.AP
MADISON, Wis. – Same-sex couples began getting married in Wisconsin on Friday shortly after a federal judge struck down the state's gay marriage ban and despite confusion over the effect of the ruling.
Clerks in Madison and Milwaukee began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples shortly after 5 p.m. Friday, a little over an hour after the judge released her ruling. Judges were on hand at both courthouses to perform ceremonies.
"I'm still up in the clouds!" Shari Roll said shortly after she married Renee Currie just a block from the state Capitol.
Court officials conducted the marriages even though Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said the ruling did not clear the way for weddings to begin and sought an sought an emergency order in federal court to stop them. Van Hollen said confusion and uncertainty had resulted from the judge's decision and the status quo must be preserved.
In Milwaukee, Jose Fernando Gutierrez and Matthew Schreck married outside the county clerk's office in what was possibly the first gay marriage in the state. About 45 minutes later, Currie and Roll got married in Madison.
Clerks were keeping their offices open until 9 p.m. in Madison and Milwaukee to issue marriage licenses. It wasn't immediately known whether marriages were happening elsewhere in Wisconsin.
Andrew Warner, a minister at Plymouth Church in Milwaukee, married longtime partner Jay Edmundson, then performed a wedding for two members of his church, Christopher Martell and Mark Williams. Gutierrez and Schreck, who attend the same church, served as witnesses.
"I always felt like we were second-class citizens in not being able to get married," said Warner. "And now I feel good about my state in a way I haven't before."
Williams said he and Martell had assembled documents needed to get a license in anticipation of a ruling. They expected there to be a narrow window before a court halted the ceremonies.
"It definitely matters to us to have confidence that our relationship will be respected," Williams said.
In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb declared the gay marriage ban unconstitutional. But she also created confusion by asking the couples who sued to describe exactly what they wanted her to block in the law. She said she would later decide whether to put her decision on hold while it is appealed.
Attorney Larry Dupuis, who represented the couples who sued, said the ACLU would respond to Crabb next week, and he expected her to then issue an order for the state to allow marriages.
Voters amended the Wisconsin Constitution in 2006 to outlaw gay marriage or anything substantially similar. The ACLU filed a lawsuit this February saying the ban violated the plaintiffs' constitutional rights to equal protection and due process. It said the eight couples named in the suit and others like them had been deprived of legal protections that married couples enjoy simply because of their gender.
Gay rights activists have won 15 consecutive lower court cases since a landmark Supreme Court ruling last summer, with Wisconsin being the latest. Many of those rulings are being appealed.
"This case is not about whether marriages between same-sex couples are consistent or inconsistent with the teachings of a particular religion, whether such marriages are moral or immoral or whether they are something that should be encouraged or discouraged," Crabb wrote in the Wisconsin ruling. "It is not even about whether the plaintiffs in this case are as capable as opposite-sex couples of maintaining a committed and loving relationship or raising a family together.
"Quite simply, this case is about liberty and equality, the two cornerstones of the rights protected by the United States Constitution."
Three of the couples who sued gathered at a bar in Milwaukee, where the gay festival PrideFest opened Friday. They celebrated with family and friends, who brought T-shirts with the message, "love wins."
Garth Wangemann, 58, and Roy Badger, 56, said they are eager to be married -- they have their clothes picked out -- but OK with waiting a bit longer. They said they had come a long way since the days when banks wouldn't give them a joint checking account and landlords didn't want to rent to them.
"We all wanted the day to come where young people (can) now take it for granted, they can marry the person they love," Wangemann said.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
June 6, 2014|2:59 pm
An 18-year-old Pakistani woman survived being shot twice and thrown in a canal by her family in an attempted honor killing for marrying the man that she loved.
"It is an honor-related incident," local police chief Ali Akbar told Reuters.
"The victim, Saba [Maqsood] ... married her neighbor Muhammad Qaiser for love five days ago against the wishes of her family. They took her to Hafizabad, shot her twice and threw her in the canal after putting her in a sack, presuming that she was dead."
Maqsood was apparently attacked by her father, uncle, brother and aunt and thrown into the waterway in the city of Hafizabad in Punjab province.
The woman survived, however, and was helped by two passersby after she regained consciousness and managed to struggle to the bank. She has wounds in her cheek and right hand, Akbar added.
"She is a brave girl. She came out of the canal and approached a nearby fuel station from where a rescue team rushed her to [a] hospital," he said.
The attack happened a little over a week following the honor killing of a pregnant Pakistani woman, who was stoned to death by nearly 20 members of her family, also for marrying a man against her family's wishes.
Farzana Parveen, the slain 25-year-old woman, is said to have beenthree months pregnant when her father, brothers, and other family members attacked her and her husband, before killing her with bricks in broad daylight.
The father, Mohammad Azeem, was arrested by police.
"I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it," Police investigator Rana Mujahid quoted the father as saying.
While Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condemned such honor killings and called for "immediate action" on these cases, polls on Pakistani attitudes have shown that a significant number do believe such killings can be justified.
A 2011 Pew Research Center survey found that 40 percent of respondents believe that to protect a family's honor, a woman who engages in premarital sex or adultery can be killed.
The survey did not, however, ask about children marrying without the consent of their parents, which was the case in both killings these past couple of weeks.
Friday, June 6, 2014
June 5, 2014
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay a federal judge's decision overturning a state constitutional amendment approved by voters and requiring state recognition of same-sex marriage in Oregon while an appeal is processed.
In a one sentence order issued Wednesday, the highest court in the land denied the request by the National Organization for Marriage to stay the ruling last month allowing for gay marriages in the West Coast state.
"The application for stay presented to Justice [Anthony] Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is denied," reads the order in full.
In a statement released on the day of the order, John Eastman, Chairman of NOM denounced the Supreme Court's refusal to provide the stay.
"It's important to recognize that the Supreme Court has not decided the merits of the underlying issue. NOM has filed an appeal of the trial judge's decision to prevent us from intervening in the case to defend Oregon's marriage amendment," stated Eastman.
"That appeal is on track, with briefs due in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal in August and September, and oral argument sometime afterwards."
In November 2004, Oregon voters passed a ballot initiative called the Oregon Marriage Measure 36, which added a marriage definition to the state's constitution.
"It is the policy of Oregon, and its political subdivisions, that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage," read Measure 36, which passed with 56.63 percent of the vote.
Last year, four gay couples filed suit against the marriage amendment as part of the many lawsuits against various state marriage amendments across the United States.
In February, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum officially refused to defend the amendment, arguing that it violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.
Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane struck down the marriage amendment in the Geiger v. Kitzhaber case. Unlike similar decisions in other states, McShane did not put a stay on his decision pending appeal.
According to the group Freedom to Marry, since Oregon has stopped defending the law, the state has become the 19th in the nation to legalize gay marriage.
In a statement released regarding the decision, Rosenblum expressed confidence that NOM will not be seen as having standing to defend the marriage amendment.
"Today's ruling, which, notably, came from the full United States Supreme Court, allows the celebrations of marriages of same-sex couples in Oregon to continue without interruption," said Rosenblum.
"I am confident that the federal district court's ruling denying NOM's 'last minute' motion to intervene will be upheld, as will Judge McShane's historic decision overturning Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage on the ground that it denies same-sex couples equal protection under the United States Constitution."
Thursday, June 5, 2014
BY LEONARDO BLAIR , CP REPORTER
An order handed down by Colorado's Civil Rights Commission on a local Christian baker forcing him to undergo sensitivity training after he refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding citing his faith is "vague," "lousy" and pointless, says his lawyer.
Last Friday, the commission ruled that Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, could not refuse to bake cakes for gay weddings citing his Christian faith and ordered him to undergo sensitivity training.
In an interview with The Christian Post Wednesday, his lawyer, Nicolle Martin, said the sensitivity training was pointless, because her client does not discriminate against gays, and the order for sensitivity training, which became effective on June 2, cannot be seriously implemented because it is "vague" and "lousy."
"The [sensitivity] training is really for the entire staff and it's for him to conduct training for his staff. It's kind of vague. He just has to report that he's done it. It's very vague," said Martin, who lamented that the haphazard order was as a result of unqualified people sitting on the commission.
"This is the problem where a bunch of lay people are making decisions about someone's livelihood and other people's jobs where the state has decided, has told Mr. Phillips, you don't have any First Amendment rights," explained Martin.
"You must express our message, we are the investigator; we are the prosecutor; we are the judge; we are the jury. And this is what you end up with. A lousy order that is vague and lacking specificity," she added.
When asked why she did not seek clarification from the commission, Martin said she and her client were not allowed to speak.
According to Martin, Phillips is also required to keep a log of every person he refuses service and document the reason why and present that log to the commission on a quarterly basis.
"The order says he must report on any orders — whether it be a cake or a brownie or cookies — turned away and the reason for doing so," said Martin, who explained that the commissioners had, at one point, suggested that Phillips provide a log of every single transaction highlighting the sexual orientation of the customer.
"Even though the commission [had] suggested that he report on every single transaction and whether the customer was gay, the Attorney General reminded the commission that that would be illegal for Jack to ascertain a customer's sexual orientation," said Martin. "Thankfully, the order was clarified to say report quarterly on any celebrations or orders turned away and the basis for doing so."
CP reached out to the commission for comment Wednesday but did not receive a reply at the time of publication.
According to the commission's website, the bipartisan seven-member group of commissioners are citizens of Colorado appointed by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and confirmed by the state's Senate to serve voluntary four-year terms.
"They are selected from across the state to represent both political parties. Two represent business (one of whom represents small business), two represent government, and three represent the community at-large. At least four of the members are members of groups of people who have been or who might be discriminated against because of disability, race, creed, color, sex, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or age," the website noted.
The commissioners are Katina Banks (D), chair; Raju Jairam (Un), vice chair; Diann Rice (Un); Marvin Adams (R); Heidi J. Hess (D); Dulce Saenz (Un) and A. Susie Velasquez (D).
Monday, June 2, 2014
May 31, 2014|2:48 pm
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled Friday that the state's Anti-Discrimination Act doesn't allow a Christian cake maker to refuse to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple.
Jack Phillips, a Christian who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., discriminated against a same-sex couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, by refusing to make a cake for their wedding ceremony in 2012, the state's seven-member Civil Rights Commission said in its decision, asking the bakery to change its long-standing policy.
"Any person doing business in Colorado has to recognize that they have to do business in an ethical and law abiding way and the law says you cannot discriminate," Denver Post quoted Raju Jairam, vice chairman of the commission, as saying.
Last December, a Colorado judge ruled that the Christian baker has to make cakes for such ceremonies as well as prove that he has done so. Attorneys of the Alliance Defending Freedom appealed the decision in January.
"Every artist must be free to create work that expresses what he or she believes and not be forced to express contrary views," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. "The First Amendment protects our freedom to speak or not speak on any issue without fear of punishment by the government."
ADF will likely appeal the decision, Tedesco told CitizenLink.
The complainants said they were humiliated by the refusal.
"What should have been a happy day for us turned into a humiliating and dehumanizing experience because of the way we were treated," kwgn.com quoted Mullins as saying. "No one should ever have to walk into a store and wonder if they will be turned away just because of who they are."
However, Phillips defended his polite refusal, saying, "I'm a follower of Jesus Christ so you can say it's a religious belief, but I believe that the Bible teaches that that's not an OK thing."
"Religious freedom is undoubtedly an important American value, but so is the right to be treated equally under the law free from discrimination," said Amanda Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. "Everyone is free to believe what they want, but businesses like Masterpiece Cakeshop cannot treat some customers differently than others based on who they are as people."
"The government should not force him to choose between his faith and his livelihood," said ADF Lead Counsel Nicolle Martin, "In America, we don't separate a person's creative expression from what he believes. Jack simply exercised the long-cherished American freedom to decline to use his artistry to promote a message with which he disagrees."
"I will stand by my convictions until somebody shuts me down," Phillips told the Post.