Lawyer Who Lost 1995 Gay Rights Case Says Justice Department's Reliance in 'Masterpiece Cake' Is Misplaced

Q&A: John Ward on the case, the argument and the outcome.

, Supreme Court Brief


In its brief supporting a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, the U.S. Justice Department relied heavily on a 1995 Supreme Court decision that the gay community lost. John Ward, who argued that case, says the government’s reliance is misplaced.

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What's being said

  • Barnum

    "I definitely didn‘t think it was going to be nine to nothing." He admits he was wrong then and he is even more wrong now. Freedom of speech and religion trumps a state statute. He says: If you allow this exception [to the anti-discrimination laws], God knows where it would stop." To turn that around, would an anti-discrimination law punish someone that refused to write a song celebrating gay marriage. Or to decorate a cake for a polygamist, even if polygamy is legalized. Freedom of speech means the government cannot punish someone for refusing to apply their creative talent against their will without a compelling reason - and avoiding hurt feelings is not compelling. End of story.

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