U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of Baker Refusing to Create Cake for Same-Sex Couple Does Not Change Law for Employers


In a narrow recent Decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission illegally found against a baker who claimed his religious beliefs prevented him from creating a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.   The key was that the Commission allowed other bakers to refuse to create cakes that demeaned gays and same-sex marriages. It was that inconsistency/discrimination between religious beliefs based on content that created the illegality, and therefore the case cannot be interpreted to permit discrimination against gays or same-sex couples generally in providing access to goods and services offered as public accommodations, or in the employment context. Indeed, the Supreme Court has just accepted a new public accommodations case involving a same-sex discrimination claim made against a Washington state florist.

As discussed in a previous post, same-sex discrimination, harassment and retaliation has been illegal in New York for many years, and is now also illegal under federal law (Title VII) in the federal 2nd Circuit which covers New York. Similarly, discrimination, harassment and retaliation is prohibited if based on gender identity.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.


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