On Thursday, the Department of Justice filed a brief supporting Jack Phillips, a Christian baker whose Supreme Court case may decide the future for LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws.
In June, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Phillips’ case, in which he refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple under his First Amendment right to religious freedom. The Justice Department agrees with the baker’s assertion, arguing that Phillips cannot be forced to create a cake for a gay couple if it violates his religious values.
“Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights,” Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall said in the brief, the Washington Post reports.
The Trump administration’s support for Phillips is another symbolic push for defending religious freedom, one that comes at the LGBTQ community’s expense. Earlier this summer, the DOJ also argued that LGBTQ employees should not be protected under federal anti-discrimination Civil Rights laws.
American Civil Liberties Union deputy legal counsel Louise Melling was appalled by the brief, emphasizing that the administration is doubling-down on antagonizing LGBTQ Americans.
“Even in an administration that has already made its hostility [clear], I find this nothing short of shocking,” Melling said to the Post.
The Trump administration has a long track record of siding against the LGBTQ community. President Donald Trump has previously ushered guidelines for banning transgender troops while rescinding guidelines for the treatment of trans kids in schools and public spaces. He has also turned a blind eye to conservative religious organizations that create super PACs and ignored Pride month altogether. His Supreme Court pick, Justice Neil Gorsuch, also has a long history of defending religious freedom.