First Liberty has petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case of Aaron and Melissa Klein, an Oregon family who was forced to shut down their business and fined $135,000 for not baking a same-sex wedding cake. The question now is, will the Court side with Gobitis or Barnette? Learn more at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.
The right to differ with popular beliefs and opinions has long been an American principle.
Back in the late 1930’s, the Gobitis children had a religious objection to saluting the flag. The Supreme Court upheld their expulsion in Minersville School District v. Gobitis and that’s when the harassment of America’s Jehovah’s Witnesses took off.
Just a few short years later, the Supreme Court revisited its decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette. Justice Jackson’s majority opinion explained that if the Bill of Rights allows the state to compel one to salute the flag, it also permits “public authorities to compel him to utter what is not in his mind.”
So it is with First Liberty clients, Aaron and Melissa Klein. Can the state compel small business owners to speak a message contrary to their religious beliefs? That’s a question we hope the Supreme Court might soon answer.
And, we hope that answer is consistent with Justice Jackson’s in Barnette when he wrote, “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”
Let’s hope the Supreme Court protects America’s small business owners and their First Amendment right to differ.
To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.