HRC-Led Amicus Briefs in Masterpiece Cakeshop SCOTUS Case Features Top Chefs, Businesses

by Nick Morrow

Washington -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, announced two amicus briefs featuring the nation’s leading bakers, chefs and businesses who oppose discrimination against LGBTQ people — the central issue in the pending Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

The ‘Chefs for Equality’ brief includes bakers, chefs, restaurateurs and other culinary industry leaders from every state, plus Washington D.C. In addition to food professionals from all over the country, it is signed by some of the most prominent names in the culinary industry, including Elizabeth Falkner, Jose Andres, Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Berman of Georgetown Cupcake, Carla Hall, Padma Lakshmi, Christina Tosi, Anthony Bourdain, Tom Colicchio, Duff Goldman, Sam Kass and more.

An HRC-led amicus brief featuring 37 businesses has also been filed in this case, also arguing that businesses must be open to all.

“The culinary community has joined this brief to relay a very simple message: ‘we welcome all,’” said Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign. “If a business is open on main street, it must be open to everyone, regardless of who they are or whom they love. It is important for the nation and the Supreme Court to affirm the equal dignity of every single American.”

The ‘Chefs for Equality’ brief was authored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, an international law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C.

“These companies are sending a powerful message to LGBTQ people and their families that America’s leading businesses believe in equality,” said HRC Deputy Director of Employee Engagement Beck Bailey. “Across the country, corporate leaders know that businesses should be open for all. A business owner's personal beliefs should never be reason enough to discriminate against a customer because of who they are or who they love.”

The brief featuring major businesses was authored by Steptoe & Johnson LLP, an international law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C.

The companies signing the brief are:

Affirm, Inc.; Airbnb, Inc.; Amalgamated Bank;, Inc.; American Airlines; Apple; Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.; Choice Hotels International, Inc., International; Cisco Systems, Inc.; Citigroup Inc.; Deutsche Bank; Glassdoor, Inc.; Intel Corporation; John Hancock; Levi Strauss & Co.; Linden Research, Inc.; Lyft Inc.; Marriott International, Inc.; MassMutual; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; MongoDB, Inc.; National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce; NIO U.S.; PayPal Holdings, Inc.; Pfizer Inc; Postmates Inc; PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP; Prudential Financial, Inc.; Replacements, Ltd.;, inc.; SurveyMonkey; The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.; Uber Technologies, Inc.; WeddingWire, Inc.; Weebly, Inc.; Witeck Communications; and Yelp Inc.

Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is a case pending at the Supreme Court of the United States involving a baker who in 2012 refused to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Last year, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld a ruling by the Colorado Court of Appeals that bakery owner Jack Phillips cannot cite religious beliefs or free speech in order to discriminate against same-sex couples. Amicus briefs in support of the same-sex couple and the the Colorado Civil Rights Commission must be filed at the Supreme Court of the United States today. Oral arguments will be heard by the Court on December 5.


The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.           


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