US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reaffirmed his support for small business owners who refuse service to LGBT+ customers on the basis of ‘religious freedom’.
During an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Sessions was asked by host David Brody where the Department of Justice stood on the matter of bakers who have turned away business related to same-sex weddings.
“Well what I would say to you now, while the matter is in litigation, but I would just say to you that too often we have ignored what the Constitution actually says,” Sessions said.
“It says Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
“So the question is, the cake baker has more than just a personal view here. He has a religious view and he feels that he is not being able to freely exercise his religion by being required to participate in a ceremony in some fashion that he does not believe in.”
The Attorney General continued on to say that, “We think that right is a fundamental right and ought to be respected as we work through this process.”
"Of course in the 1990’s we passed a religious freedom restoration act that said the government should not constrict a person’s religious belief without a compelling reason to do so.
"So we think that statute has been ignored too often and not respected sufficiently. And so when you consider those two things, then you’re getting not only greater protection for people’s religious beliefs, that I think should be given."
Colorado baker Jack Phillips is preparing to take his case to the Supreme Court in the next few months, to argue that he was within his rights to refuse to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
Phillips is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom who have commented that: “The government does not have the power to force creative professionals like Jack—or anyone for that matter—to celebrate events that violate their faith.”
The Supreme Court has announced that oral arguments for the case will begin on December 5.