Universal Life Church Case Law
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The Interplay of Freedoms: Religion, Speech and Non-Discrimination

March 9th, 2015

The Constitution of the United States is one of the most unique governing documents in modern political history.  It is over 200 years old yet it is still looked to by world leaders and citizens alike to provide guidance on what is considered lawful behavior.  While there is arguably little in the way of step by step instructions for modern society, it was written in a way so that it truly is a living document that can be interpreted in a way so as to accommodate modernity while maintaining the integrity of law in our great nation.  Sometimes, however, there is conflict between provisions of the Constitution that can be subject to modern interpretation.  It is in these areas of conflict that have molded our country into what it is today, and what it will look like in the future.

Let them eat cake!

One issue that recently instigated one of our nation’s most heated debates in modern times has been playing out in an unorthodox arena; namely, small town family bakeries.  Two bakeries in the State of Colorado have recently been involved in a national constitutional debate over the limits of equal protection and religious freedom.  It is a battle between constitutional amendments that is as divisive as any legal debate in history.

On one side there is religious freedom; the freedom to practice and believe pursuant to one particular faith.  On the other side is the right to equal protection under the law; specifically, the right to go into any business and be treated equally by the owner regardless of protected class status.  The debate is the same, even if the facts differ slightly as the two bakery owners have discovered.  In both cases, the owner of a cake shop refused to make a cake that was ordered by customers.  The similarities end there, however, as one owner refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, citing to his religious beliefs that two men should not marry.  In contrast, the second cake shop owner refused to make a cake with a statement written on it, as requested by a customer. According to the bakery, the statement contained an anti-gay message.

These two cases are similar in that they involve the very heated debate over gay marriage, including whether it should or should not be recognized by the government. One case has already been through the Colorado’s state agency responsible for investigating civil rights violations, and the other is currently making its way through it.  Both cases are likely to have ramifications beyond the borders of Colorado as more and more individuals may find themselves discussing these cases as they highlight the interplay of some of the most contentious provisions of the Constitution.

The Universal Life Church will continue to follow the great cake debate as it moves through the court system.  Universal Life Church Case Law takes an interest in any proposed law that may affect the constitutional right of Americans and the impact of court decisions on the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

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