Rep. Mark Sanford took to Facebook on Saturday to discuss his signing of an amicus brief in the upcoming Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Human Rights Commission.
The trial will decide whether a baker’s decision to not bake a wedding cake for a gay marriage constitutes unlawful discrimination or speech protected under the first amendment.
Sanford signed a brief in support of Masterpiece Cakeshop’s owner Jack Phillips.
“In this case, Mr. Phillips is a very religious man who as a baker wouldn’t include alcohol in his recipes, wouldn’t do things that celebrated Halloween, and more,” said Sanford in his Facebook post. “One could agree or disagree with his personal beliefs, but by all accounts they seem to be strongly held.”
He went on to express a belief that free speech means not sanitizing what others say, weather or not we like it, and compared the upcoming debate in the Supreme Court to the debate over kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games.
“What we can’t do is say that it’s okay for Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers to stand in protest to the National Anthem and consider that free speech, but then not allow a person for their strongly held religious beliefs to say that my right to self expression includes my right to do or not to do things I believe in,” said Sanford on Facebook.
Sanford also explained the purpose of an amicus brief, which is to provide the court with relevant information about matters that those filing the brief are not directly involved in. The translation from the full Latin term “amicus curiae” is literally “friend of the court” according to the legal dictionary at law.com.
In a previous ruling by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission it was determined that Masterpiece Cakeshop’s refusal to sell a wedding cake to David Mullins and Charlie Craig was discrimination based on sexual orientation and violated Colorado law, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Masterpiece Cakeshop was ordered to change its policies, train their staff on avoiding discrimination and provide quarterly reports for two years showing its compliance with Colorado law.
Sanford closed out his Facebook post by providing a link to the brief that he and 85 other senators signed.
Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Human Rights Commission will be heard by the Supreme Court this year, but an exact date has not yet been set.