The Little White Christmas Tree

Biggest brother putting ornaments on the tree at age 5.

The last time I packed our Christmas tree into the box I didn’t know it was the last time.  We split in June that year.  I picked out some ornaments when we separated our things, but for the most part, I said goodbye to the shiny little trinkets I had picked out for our family.

That was a few years ago.  The first Christmas after that was pretty brutal.  I didn’t even take out the ornaments I had brought with me.  I made a fun arts and crafts type of tree for our then 2 year olds to play with, and when they went to her house to celebrate I turned to Lifetime movies and pie.  It was pretty cliche.

The next year I had a tiny 2 foot tree I bought on a whim at Target.  The kids had a blast making tiny ornaments and I didn’t worry about them knocking anything down too much.  I had a less sad Christmas that year.  It’s amazing what effect those colorful little lights have on a room.

Fast forward a bit and the scene unfolds in a way I never expected.

Youngest brother putting ornaments on the same tree at age 5.

This year my ex, her spouse, and I, along with our kids, pulled out that same old tree.  We put on ornaments from all over the place.  We redefined our traditions in our own unique way.  We successfully blended what we had once worked so tediously to separate.

An ornament broke.  The kids stayed up too late.  We made a huge mess.

It was pretty perfect.

Day 12…

Today is day 12 of entirely solo parenting.

Today I am so thankful for my coparents.

When we first split, I took the kids and moved.  I moved far enough away to not bump into each other in the grocery store.  To not worry about who hears and says and sees what.  I moved far enough away to give myself the time and space I needed to be mad and hurt and to process in my own way.

About a year later I moved back closer.   I had had my space.   I had felt my feelings.   I had healed some of what needed to be healed.   And I was SO sick of traffic during visits.

 

Another two years after that we moved even closer together.  My coparent and I, along with the new spouse had worked together to get things where and how they needed to be for the kids.  And quite frankly, for ourselves.

We stopped calling each other exes and started calling each other coparents.  We stopped worrying about parenting time lost and started focusing on how to better spend our time now.  And now we truly are a team.  A team that works so well, that we don’t even realize it sometimes.

So now that they have been away for TWELVE days, I can confidently say that as much as I am a single parent, I am also NOT a single parent.  Nor do I wish to be.  My kids do better when they have all of us.  We do better when we have all of us.  And while everyone survived this adventure, and even had fun, I’m happy that the other two-thirds of my team will be home tonight.

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.