Supreme Court Sides With the Colorado Baker Who Turned Down Gay Couple

Supreme Court Sides With the Colorado Baker Who Turned Down Gay Couple

The Supreme Court has sided with the Colorado baker this week in the case that placed gay rights against claims of religious freedom. Leaving the question of whether or not a business can discriminate against LGBTQ based on rights that’re protected by the First Amendment.

The 7-2 decision stated that state commission violated the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom ruling against the baker, Jack Phillips, who had refused to create a custom wedding cake for a gay couple.

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The Supreme Court To Decide If Food Is Art in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado

The Supreme Court To Decide If Food Is Art in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado
  • The Issue: Does applying Colorado's public accommodations law the compel Masterpiece Cakeshop owner to create a product that violates his religious beliefs about marriage violate his freedom of speech protected under the first amendment?  

  • The Supreme Court's decision could have massive implications... 


Can the government force them to use their artistic ability to support something they do not? Does food as an artistic expression fall under your right to freedom of speech? Should businesses be held to a different standard as a service to their community?

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In 2012, a same-sex couple walked into Masterpiece Cakeshop with the intention of ordering a wedding cake. But the owner would not create the wedding cake, stating that it would be against his religious beliefs. He did state that he offered any other cake or product in the store, but he would not use his artistic ability to create a wedding cake for an inherently religious ceremony he did not believe in.

Aside from the freedom of religion argument, this case is asking another question: If a baker, a chef, or even a tailor, as Justice Gorsuch questioned, creates a product deemed a work of art, is it protected under free speech? If so, can they decide who they will serve and where do you draw the line?  

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Washington Report: Immigrants Make Up 23 Percent of Restaurant Workforce

Note: If you would like to learn more about the Sanctuary Restaurant movement, you can do so in the organization's website.

Twenty-three percent of 14 million restaurant workers are immigrants and so this industry depends on them. At this time, it feels more important than ever to stand with diverse communities and pledge to protect their liberties, dignities, and freedom[s],” says Della Heiman, who put up a sign at her Wynwood restaurant, Della Test Kitchen, that reads: "Sanctuary Restaurant: A place at the table for everyone."

“...We wanted to be a part of this legally compliant movement to support the safety and diversity of our employees. Some of the core values of Della Test Kitchen and The Wynwood Yard are community and diversity. The Wynwood Yard is a hub where we feel that many of Miami’s different communities overlap and come together,” explained Heiman.

Della Test Kitchen is the only restaurant in Miami-Dade County to publicly join the Sanctuary Restaurant movement. This happened after the county’s mayor, Carlos Giménez, was the first in the nation to demand its local officials to comply with President Donald Trump’s executive order to enhance public safety by hiring “10,000 additional immigration officers” to enforce federal immigration laws and target “sanctuary cities” by withholding funding.

To support this executive order, Trump has gone as far as creating a program he first announced on Feb. 28, in his first speech to Congress, called VOICE — Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement — to provide “service to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens and the family members of such victims,” while the program’s office provides “quarterly reports studying the effects of the victimization by criminal aliens present in the United States.”

What is a Sanctuary City?

A Sanctuary City is a jurisdiction where local officials decline detainer requests of undocumented immigrants by the federal government.

While Giménez’s motives were economically founded to protect the county’s funding, other local leaders, like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, San Francisco Mayor Ed Le,  and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, have taken a moral stance to protect their dense immigrant communities. The 10 largest sanctuary cities combined would be giving up $2.27 billion dollars in federal funding, according to a Reuters analysis, if they do not comply with Trump’s plans.

List of 10 Largest Sanctuary Cities

  1. New York City | $701.6 million funds at risk

  2. Chicago / Cook County | $526.4 million funds at risk

  3. Los Angeles / L.A. County | $466.2 million funds at risk

  4. Philadelphia | $199.5 million funds at risk

  5. Detroit / Wayne County | $104.7 million funds at risk

  6. Seattle / King County | $72.7 million funds at risk

  7. San Francisco | $70.9 million funds at risk

  8. Boston / Suffolk County | $65.5 million funds at risk

  9. Denver | $39.1 million funds at risk

  10. Washington D.C. | $20.4 million funds at risk

(Source: Reuters analysis of federal data)

Also, in response to Trump’s orders, the “Day Without Immigrants” protest took place Feb. 16, when restaurants sympathizing with the immigrant labor force decided to close shop to prove the importance of this minority group to the restaurant industry.

sweetgreen— a popular fast-casual brand, which ranks as high as No. 11 in Foodable's Top 100 Most Loved Brands report— joined the protest by closing all 18 D.C. locations and stated: “Without the hard work and grit of our team, our stores do not run, and that means we can’t make good on our promise to you, our guest. Our team members are the face of the brand, from the front lines to our kitchen — they’re the backbone of this company and what makes sweetgreen special. And that’s exactly why we stand with them, today and every day...”

The same day of the “Day Without Immigrants” protest, President Trump announced his new Secretary of Labor pick, R. Alexander Acosta, after his first choice, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination amid controversy.

Acosta is currently the Dean of Florida International University’s law school and was formerly the assistant attorney general under the Bush administration. If confirmed, he would be the first Hispanic in Trump’s cabinet.

Last Update - March 3: At publishing time, two more restaurants have registered as sanctuary restaurants in Miami-Dade County. These restaurants are Choices Cafe and Lulu's Nitrogen Ice Cream.

Washington Report: The Stakes for American Agriculture as Trump Moves Toward Building the Wall

In his first 14 days in office, President Trump has signed seven executive orders, many of which have come under fire like the "7-Nation Ban." Despite the continued protests have continued, Trump seems to be following the platform he set during his campaign.

One of President Trump’s campaign promises was to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico. In line with that platform, he signed an executive order on January 25 that directed the immediate construction of a border wall using federal funds. Thus far, no construction has taken place.

Mexico-American relations have been strained since Trump first proposed the border wall idea. He insisted that Mexico would pay for the wall however, Mexican officials have repeatedly stated they would not.

What effect could this strained relationship with Mexico have on our agriculture industry and food costs?

Imports coming into the U.S. from Mexico have been a hot topic because of proposed methods of paying for the border wall. Mexico is the United States' second largest supplier of agricultural imports, with U.S. agricultural imports totalling $21 billion in 2015.

Not many people have considered America’s exports to Mexico and how they may be affected. Mexico is United States' third largest agricultural export market, with the U.S. sending $17.7 billion dollars of agricultural goods to Mexico in 2016. These goods include corn, soybeans, dairy, pork, and beef.

Keep up with On Foodable Weekly’s Washington Reports to stay informed on political happenings surrounding the restaurant industry.

Washington Report: Trump Moves Into the White House — How Will This Move the Restaurant Industry?

On Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump was sworn into office as the 45th President of the United States. On this episode of "On Foodable Weekly: Washington Report," we discuss the political dissent that has blanketed the country since election day, and how some policies may affect those in foodservice.

Repealing and Replacing the Affordable Care Act

A major platform of the Trump campaign has been to "repeal and replace Obamacare." Also known as the Affordable Care Act, this piece of legislation is most well-known for prohibiting insurance companies from charging more or denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions. The proposal to "repeal and replace" has caused demonstrations across the U.S. These have included marches and protests like the “cough-in” staged at Trump Tower’s Jean-Georges restaurant.

Last week, a budget narrowly passed in the Senate instructing teams to start coming up with plans to wipe out much of the ACA has caused concerns over whether pre-existing conditions will continue to be covered. The vote was met with much debate from Democrats, citing their reasoning for opposition, in spite of the fact that debate is not allowed during votes.

Controversial Cabinet Picks

Since the November election, Trump has seen a bit of a backlash in response to his cabinet picks. With nominees like Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education and Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, hearings for nominees have also been a hot topic. In a letter to Senate Democrats, the United States Office of Government Ethics warned that the hearing schedule for the president's nominees did not give the office a sufficient amount of time to properly review the picks. In the letter, ethics office director wrote, “For as long as I remain director of OGE’s staff and agency ethics, officials will not succumb to pressure to  cut corners and ignore conflicts of interest.” As of this afternoon, only two of President Trump’s Cabinet nominees are set to be confirmed.

NRA and the Trump Administration

The National Restaurant Association has been working with the administration since before the election to ensure the industry is well represented.

“We’ve been working with the Trump campaign all summer to talk about the restaurant industry. So we're prepared to be engaged as we have been, on behalf of the industry to continue to make sure that state and local lawmakers understand the benefit of restaurants and the value that we bring to each and every community across the country.”

As this new administration settles in, we will continue to keep you up to date on legislation affecting your business, here with On Foodable Weekly’s Washington Report. Be sure to watch and share!