Yo representé a la pareja de pastel de bodas. Perdimos la pelea pero ganamos la guerra.

La Corte Suprema dictaminó 7-2 a favor del panadero de “Masterpiece Cakeshop”, Jack Phillips, quien rehuso hacer un pastel para una pareja del mismo sexo. (Monica Akhtar, Victoria Walker / The Washington Post) Por David Cole el 4 de junio a las 5:41 p.m.

David Cole es el nacional director legal de la ACLU.

En la ley, como en las arenas de conflicto menos civiles, puedes perder una pelea pero ganar la guerra. Eso es lo que sucedió en Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, el caso que enfrento a un panadero cristiano contra una pareja gay que buscó comprar un pastel de bodas en los mismos términos que cualquier otro cliente. La ACLU representó a la pareja gay; y yo argumente su caso en la Corte Suprema. El tribunal dictaminó el lunes a favor del panadero, pero abajo de la consideración limitada de la comisión de derechos civiles del estado que estaba sesgada por la hostilidad hacia la religión. Es importante destacar que el tribunal se negó a adoptar el argumento principal del panadero – y el único argumento presentado por la administración de Trump – que los negocios y comercios tienen el derecho de la Primera Enmienda de discriminar contra los miembros de la LGBTQ+ comunidad. Por el contrario, el tribunal reafirmó nuestro punto principal: que no existe una excepción general de la Primera Enmienda a las leyes que protegen a los clientes LGBTQ+ de la discriminación.

El caso surgió cuando Charlie Craig y David Mullins intentaron comprar un pastel para celebrar su próxima boda. Cuando el propietario de la panadería, Jack Phillips, supo que iban a usar el pastel para celebrar su boda, él los rechazó, alegando que su religión le impedía hacer un pastel para una pareja del mismo sexo, a pesar de que rutinariamente hacía esos pasteles para el lado opuesto parejas de sexo.

La ACLU presentó un caso en nombre de la pareja, alegando que las acciones de Phillips violaron la ley de acomodaciones públicas de Colorado, que prohíbe a los negocios y comercio que sirven al público negar el servicio por motivos de raza, sexo, orientación sexual y similares. La Comisión de Derechos Civiles de Colorado, y luego la Corte de Apelaciones de Colorado, falló a nuestro favor. En la Corte Suprema, el panadero ganó, pero no en el terreno que avanzó principalmente. Su argumento principal fue que cuando un negocio o comercio ofrecen productos expresivos, la prohibición de la Primera Enmienda sobre el “discurso obligado” impide que el gobierno exija que el negocio o comercio proporcione ese producto cuando se oponga a hacerlo. La administración de Trump respaldó ese argumento, y sostuvo que cuando los negocios o comercios ofrecen productos expresivos o servicios para “eventos expresivos” como bodas, la Primera Enmienda prohíbe a los estados exigirles que los proporcionen a clientes de la comunidad de LGBTQ+ en los mismos términos que los clientes heterosexuales. El juez Anthony M. Kennedy, al escribir la opinión de la mayoría, no pudo haber sido más claro al rechazar el argumento de que existe un derecho de la Primera Enmienda a discriminar. Él escribió que “es una regla general que las objeciones [religiosas y filosóficas] no permiten a los dueños de negocios. . . negar a las personas protegidas el acceso equitativo a los bienes y servicios bajo una ley de acomodaciones públicas neutral y generalmente aplicable “.

Kennedy reconoció que un ministro (que no es, por supuesto, un negocio abierto al público) no podría ser obligado a realizar una boda entre personas del mismo sexo si sus escrúpulos religiosos lo prohibieran, pero advirtió que “si esa excepción no se limitara, entonces una larga lista de personas que proporcionan bienes y servicios para matrimonios y bodas puede negarse a hacerlo para las personas homosexuales, lo que resulta en un estigma comunitario incompatible con la historia y la dinámica de las leyes de derechos civiles que garantizan la igualdad de acceso a bienes, servicios, y acomodaciones públicas “.

¿Por qué, entonces, ganó el panadero? La corte encontró que en esta instancia particular, la Comisión de Derechos Civiles de Colorado había demostrado hostilidad hacia la religión. Citó a un comisionado que dijo que “es una de las retóricas más despreciables que las personas pueden usar: usar su religión para herir a otros”. Citó a otro comisionado diciendo que Phillips puede creer “lo que quiere creer” pero no puede actuar según esa creencia “si decide hacer negocios en el estado”. Y el tribunal encontró evidencia adicional de parcialidad contra la religión en la desestimación de quejas por parte de la comisión contra otros tres panaderos que rechazaron una solicitud para hacer pasteles con productos con anti-gay mensajes.

Opinión | La decisión de Masterpiece Cakeshop no se trata de derechos. Se trata de creencia.

La columnista Christine Emba dice que el caso de la Corte Suprema trata de lo que son las creencias religiosas y quién debería decidir qué creencias son permisibles en la vida pública. (Adriana Usero / The Washington Post)

Ese aspecto del fallo es incorrecto. “Despreciable” fue una desafortunada elección de palabras, pero la declaración del comisionado de que uno no puede invocar la religión para dañar a otros es en realidad una ley constitucional, como la noción de que un negocio o comercio no puede invocar la religión para evitar la regla que para negocios y comercios de discriminar. La Corte Suprema misma dijo que en 1990 en Employment Division v. Smith, falló que una tribu nativa americana no podía invocar sus creencias religiosas sobre el uso del peyote para evitar la prohibición criminal del estado de fumar peyote.

Pero lo que es crítico es que este razonamiento es una decisión única para este caso solamente. La corte dejó en claro que los estados son libres de exigir a los negocios y comercios, incluyendo los panaderos, que presten servicios por igual a clientes de la comunidad LGBTQ+, incluida la provisión de pasteles de boda. De hecho, Charlie Craig y David Mullins podrían ir directamente a Masterpiece Cakeshop hoy y pedir un pastel para celebrar su aniversario de bodas, y si Jack Phillips los rechazara, no tendría derecho a la Primera Enmienda para rechazarlos.

I represented the wedding cake couple. We lost a battle but won the war.

The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop baker Jack Phillips, who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple. (Monica Akhtar, Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)

By David ColeJune 4 at 5:41 PM

David Cole is national legal director of the ACLU.

In law, as in less civil arenas of conflict, you can lose a battle but win the war. That’s what happened in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the case pitting a Christian baker against a gay couple who sought to buy a wedding cake on the same terms as any other customers. The ACLU represented the gay couple; I argued their case in the Supreme Court. The court ruled Monday in favor of the baker, but on the exceedingly narrow ground that the state civil rights commission’s consideration was biased by hostility toward religion. Importantly, the court declined to adopt the baker’s principal argument — and the only argument made by the Trump administration — that “expressive” businesses that object to gay and lesbian weddings have a First Amendment right to discriminate. On the contrary, the court reaffirmed our main point: that there is no general First Amendment exception to laws protecting LGBT customers from discrimination.

The case arose when Charlie Craig and David Mullins sought to buy a cake to celebrate their upcoming wedding. When bakery owner Jack Phillips learned that they were going to use the cake to celebrate their wedding, he turned them away, claiming that his religion barred him from making a cake for a same-sex couple, even though he routinely made such cakes for opposite-sex couples.

The ACLU filed a complaint on behalf of the couple, claiming that Phillips’ actions violated Colorado’s public accommodations law, which forbids businesses that serve the public from denying service on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation and the like. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and next the Colorado Court of Appeals, ruled in our favor.

In the Supreme Court, the baker won, but not on the ground he principally advanced. His main argument was that where a business offers expressive products, the First Amendment prohibition on “compelled speech” bars the government from requiring the business to provide that product when it objects to doing so. The Trump administration backed that argument, maintaining that when businesses provide expressive products or services for “expressive events” such as weddings, the First Amendment bars states from requiring them to provide them to gay and lesbian customers on the same terms as heterosexual customers.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing the majority opinion, could not have been more clear in rejecting the argument that there is a First Amendment right to discriminate. He wrote that “it is a general rule that [religious and philosophical] objections do not allow business owners . . . to deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law.”

Kennedy acknowledged that a minister (who is not, of course, a business open to the public) could not be compelled to perform a same-sex wedding if his religious scruples prohibited it, but warned that “if that exception were not confined, then a long list of persons who provide goods and services for marriages and weddings might refuse to do so for gay persons, thus resulting in a community-wide stigma inconsistent with the history and dynamics of civil rights laws that ensure equal access to goods, services, and public accommodations.”

Why, then, did the baker win? The court found that in this particular instance, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had evinced hostility to religion. It cited a commissioner who said that “it is one of the most despicable piece of rhetoric that people can use to — to use their religion to hurt others.” It cited another commissioner saying that Phillips can believe “what he wants to believe,” but cannot act on that belief “if he decides to do business in the state.” And the court found additional evidence of bias against religion in the commission’s dismissal of complaints against three other bakers who had refused a request to make cakes with anti-gay messages.

1:39

Opinion | The Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling isn’t about rights. It’s about belief.

Columnist Christine Emba says the Supreme Court case is about what religious belief is, and who should be deciding what beliefs are permissible in public life. (Adriana Usero /The Washington Post)

That aspect of the ruling is wrong. “Despicable” was an unfortunate choice of words, but the commissioner’s statement that one cannot invoke religion to harm others is actually black-letter constitutional law, as is the notion that one cannot invoke religion to avoid complying with a general rule requiring businesses not to discriminate. The Supreme Court itself said just that in 1990 in Employment Division v. Smith, ruling that a Native American tribe could not invoke its religious beliefs in peyote use to avoid the state’s criminal prohibition on smoking peyote.

But what’s critical is that this reasoning is a one-time ruling for this case only. The court made clear that states are free to require businesses, including bakers, to serve gay and lesbian customers equally, including in the provision of wedding cakes. In fact, Charlie Craig and David Mullins could go right back into Masterpiece Cakeshop today and request a cake to celebrate their wedding anniversary — and if Jack Phillips refused them, he would have no First Amendment right to turn them away.

What is Human Rights Day All About?

The United Nations General Assembly designated December 10th as Human Rights Day, in celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is a document proclaiming the inalienable rights to which everyone is entitled. This year, Human Rights Day sets off a year-long campaign to mark next year’s 70th Anniversary of the Declaration. The rights set forth in the Declaration are inherent in every human being, regardless of race, religion, color, sex, language, political or social opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status. The goal of the Declaration is to establish universal values and common standards for all people and all nations.

All United Nations member states have consented to the basic human rights outlined by the Declaration. Although it is not a binding document, it has supported the creation of more than 60 additional documents concerning human rights, which collectively make up the international standard of human rights. Available in more than 500 languages, the Declaration is the most translated document in the world. The Declaration has inspired the following pledge to support universal human rights:

·         I respect your rights regardless of who you are. I will uphold your rights even when I disagree with you.

·         When anyone’s human rights are denied, everyone’s rights are undermined, so I will STAND UP.

·         I will raise my voice. I will take action. I will use my rights to stand up for your rights.

At Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC, we acknowledge Human Rights Day in order to promote awareness of the many local, state, national, and global issues that impact different groups of individuals in today’s society. While we celebrate the steps that have taken thus far in support of human rights, we also are cognizant of the need for continued work in the area of human rights. It is our goal to help raise awareness of these issues in the state of New Jersey. Since our daily work deals with families and children, we know how important human rights are, particularly for those individuals whom society tends to marginalize.

Should you need assistance with any family law-related matter, we are here to help and give you the advice that you need. Contact our office by e-mailing us at info@argentinolaw.com or call us at (973) 868-0958 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced family law attorneys today.

How Should I Choose a Divorce Attorney?

When it comes time to choose a divorce attorney, you may not know where to start. This is an important decision for a variety of reasons. Therefore, you should take several different factors into consideration in making this decision, including the lawyer’s perspective on your case, his or her level of knowledge and experience with divorce cases like yours, and his or her ability to communicate and help you understand the different aspects of your divorce case.

First, realize that lawyers use different strategies and tactics for approaching a divorce case. One lawyer may take an aggressive stance from the beginning of your case, filing multiple motions with the court and refusing to negotiate or compromise on even the smallest of issues. Another attorney may approach your divorce case more holistically and work closely with your spouse’s attorney to negotiate a settlement that is fair for both of you, thus saving both time and money. When you are interviewing lawyers, you should ask how they would handle the different aspects of your divorce case. You need to be comfortable with your attorney’s approach and make sure that his or her approach is truly designed to get you what you want, need, and deserve in your divorce proceedings.

Next, part of an attorney’s job is to educate you about New Jersey divorce law and explain how procedural matters in your divorce proceedings work. You undoubtedly will have many questions throughout your divorce case, and you will want to ensure that you can get clear answers to your questions from your lawyer in a timely manner, both during your initial consultation and throughout your divorce case. How long can you expect to wait to have your phone calls returned? Will your lawyer take the time to explain things to you, or will he or she be too busy to answer your questions? These are all questions that you should ask a prospective lawyer so that you have a clear sense of the information that you will receive from your divorce lawyer and how and when you will receive it.

Finally, make sure that you hire a lawyer who has experience handling not only divorces, but also handling the issues that will arise in your divorce case. For instance, many attorneys operate a general law practice, which means that they handle divorce and family law cases in addition to many other types of cases, including estate planning, business contracts, and criminal defense cases. An attorney who has focused solely on divorce and family law for several years is likely to have far more experience in these matters than a general practitioner. Likewise, if your divorce case involves issues that may not be common to all divorce cases, such as a prenuptial agreement, allegations of child abuse, or a family business, you are likely to get the most help from an attorney ho has handled divorces involving these types of issues in the past.

Will Other States Recognize My New Jersey Civil Union?

Under New Jersey law, a civil union is a legally recognized status for same-sex couples. Participants in a civil union have the same rights and responsibilities as married couples in the state of New Jersey. However, a civil union is not the same thing as a marriage but a separate relationship status. The New Jersey legislature created civil unions by statute in 2006 in order to provide same-sex couples with the same rights and responsibilities as married couples. The Civil Union Act became effective in 2007. Obviously, legislators in New Jersey enacted the Civil Union Act prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state, which occurred in conjunction with a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling of Garden State Equality v. Dow in October of 2013.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, state laws banning same-sex marriage and refusing to recognize same-sex marriages legally entered into other states were invalidated as violations of due process and equal protection rights. Given the fact that same-sex marriages are now legal in all states, and all states must recognize the same-sex marriages of other states, it is unclear whether civil unions should still be permitted for same-sex couples. Nonetheless, a civil union remains a legal possibility in the state of New Jersey; a civil union also is likely to be recognized as valid in other states that also have legislation regarding civil unions. However, it is unclear whether other states that don’t have a civil union law still will recognize civil unions, or whether it is necessary at this point. For instance, the states of Delaware and Rhode Island formerly had laws providing for civil unions replaced those laws with same-sex marriage legislation in 2013.

Interstate cases can quickly become complex, and you will find that legal assistance is necessary to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome in your case. We understand that no two families are the same, so we treat you as a person with a family and with unique concerns and needs. The bottom line is that we are here to help you through whatever family law matter you are facing, from civil unions to dissolutions of marriage, from second parent adoptions to child custody cases. The lawyers at Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC, regularly handle all types of family law, divorce, and other cases involving children. Contact our experienced attorneys today so that we can get started on the work that is necessary to resolve your legal matter. With our lawyers at your side, you will be able to make important decisions about your family from a position of knowledge, confidence, and strength.