Supreme Court case involving Colorado baker bears resemblance to 2010 Vt. case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the case involving a Colorado baker refusing to provide services to a same-sex couple.

Vermonters might remember a similar case also happened in the Green Mountain State in 2010.

That case involved the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville refusing to host same-sex couple Kate and Ming Linsley's wedding reception.

Both involved weddings and same-sex couples, but at the heart of it - a question about whether a business can refuse service based on the owner's religious beliefs.

Tuesday, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the bakery in question, spoke before a crowd.

"Like many other creative professionals I don't create custom designs for events or messages that conflict with my conscience. I don't create cakes for Halloween, promote sexual or anti-American themes or disparage people, including people who identify as LGBT. For me it's never about the person, never about the person making the request. It's always about the cake. It's always about the message the person wants the cake to communicate," said Phillips.

James Lyall heads the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont. He explains back then, the inn had violated Vermont's public accommodations law, stating the inn denied to host the reception because the couple is gay.

"Businesses that are open to all people cannot discriminate religious or other basis if they're going to remain open to the public," said Lyall.

The Wildflower case was settled, but the similarities between the Colorado and Vermont cases are not exclusive.

"We saw this during the Civil Rights Era when businesses wanted to deny services to African Americans. Although the context is still different today, the principle is the same," said Lyall.

The Supreme Court is not expected to make a decision in the Colorado case until 2018.

"Regardless of how this case is decided, you don't have to wait for a Supreme Court decision to know that discrimination is wrong," said Lyall.

Local 22 & Local 44 News reporter Alexandra Leslie reached out to the Wildflower Inn and spoke to one of the owners by phone, but they did not provide a comment.

Local 22 & Local 44 News reporter Alexandra Leslie spoke to Kate Linsley over the phone.

She cases, "it's not about taking away freedom of expression or religion, but rather about making sure everyone is included, in terms of what access they have to public accomodations."

The Linsley's have lived in Denver, CO since 2014, and now have two children.


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