San Diego City will support Colorado gay rights wedding cake cas - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego City will support Colorado gay rights wedding cake case

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego City Council voted Tuesday to weigh in on a pending U.S. Supreme Court case in which a Colorado baker claims his religious beliefs give him the right to refuse to sell wedding cakes to same- sex couples.

The council, on a 6-1 vote in closed session, authorized the City Attorney's Office to join an amicus brief in support of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Councilman Scott Sherman cast the dissenting vote, and Councilmen Chris Cate and Mark Kersey were absent.

The owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop of Lakewood, Jack Phillips, contends the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated his First Amendment rights on free exercise of religion and free speech grounds when it found that the cake shop violated the state's anti-discrimination law.

The state Supreme Court ruled that Phillips' civil rights weren't violated because his actions involved conduct, not speech.

In a recent filing, his lawyers wrote that the ruling came despite their client's artistry and that the commission has exempted other cake artists who declined to bake custom products based on their messages.

Attorneys for the commission and the couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, said Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination because of sexual orientation and marital status along with disability, race, creed, color, sex, national origin, or ancestry by places of public accommodation, employers and housing providers.

"The City Council's action reflects the values of our city," San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott said. "If the Supreme Court does not support Colorado in this case, any form of discrimination will be permissible as long as it's consistent with a religious belief. Anti-discrimination laws, including San Diego's, would become unenforceable."

Elliott said the Colorado anti-discrimination law mirrors that of California.

In a statement, Councilman David Alvarez called the baker's refusal to serve the prospective customers "a blatant act of discrimination."

Sherman said signing on to the brief was just politics.

The high court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case on Dec. 5.

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