NASW files amicus brief in same-sex marriage cake case, supports legal protections from discrimination for people who are LGBT



The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) partnered with the American Psychological Association on the amicus brief in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

The U.S. Supreme Court case addresses the validity of Colorado’s anti-discrimination statute which prevents commercial businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, in addition to other attributes such as race and religion.

In this case, the business owner raised First Amendment claims based on speech and religion arguing that he should not be required to provide a gay couple with a wedding cake.  Colorado found that the First Amendment did not empower the owner to violate Colorado’s state law prohibition on sexual orientation discrimination and the matter is now pending with the U.S. Supreme Court.

In our amicus brief,  NASW supported the need for legal protections from discrimination and provided scientific research to the courts regarding the nature of sexual orientation, discrimination and the effects of stigma.

Learn more about NASW’s legal department, which includes the NASW Legal Defense Fund.


  1. This is clearly an example of a minority group that wanted to make a statement and an example out of someone. They purposely wanted a fight. The baker clearly stated that he would make them a cake, he just couldn’t decorate it the way they wanted it because it violated his religious beliefs. He would have the same problem with putting a penis or vagina on a cake, it wasn’t anything personal against the couple. Rather than sue the baker, they could have gone to Walmart and bought the gay topping figures (would have saved money too). If you can’t get the service you want in one place, you go find one that will. I kind of wonder if they went to a Muslim bakery and demanded the same thing, would they sue? Would NASW defend the “minority” gay couple or the “minority” Muslim baker? (Everyone is a minority nowadays except straight white males). This is an example of what NASW should not be doing, it clearly shows a subjective bias and disregard for personal rights and beliefs of anyone not considered a minority.

  2. So glad the NASW came out with this.

  3. As both a social worker and a Christian, I feel torn in this situation. I believe all people are entitled to the same rights, including whom they love and choose to marry. However, I also believe we are entitled to worship and express our faith how we choose. For instance, I believe a woman has the right to make decisions about her body; but I would never be able to drive someone to a clinic in order to have an abortion due to my own moral convictions. I certainly don’t have all the answers and am sure both parties have felt persecuted and offended during these proceedings. I know I will be engaging in further studies and soul searching during this time.

  4. So the potential of increasing stigma is greater than my rights to practice my faith and run my private business? My workplace has policies that allow you to request to not work if you observe a particular Sabbath or High Holy Day. In a free enterprise system, most businesses will cater to their market. There are numerous bakers who will happily make wedding, Halloween and alcohol infused cakes. Jack Phillips doesn’t because his religious beliefs. Social workers should examine the full ramifications of stigmatization of both parties in this case.

    • I agree Beth. Why would you want someone who doesn’t like what you believe in to bake you a cake in the first place. Our political correctness is nothing short of haywire these days.

    • I fully support the NASW filing an amicus brief in support of an oppressed minority group to protect them against experiencing discrimination in their communities. This is does not increase stigmatization of the majority religious group in this country. No one is preventing you from practicing your faith and running your private practice however I do hope you closely monitor your own beliefs in the practice setting and how they may impact your practice and clientele. We all have that responsibility. It is always our instinct to protect people who are like us but most frequently, those who need is most are nothing like us. If this gentleman did not want to serve others who are planning a same sex wedding, he is welcome to run his business in a state that allows him to do so however, Colorado is not one of those states. No one gets to pick and choose which laws we follow.

    • The US Constitution and federal law trumps any state law which is why it is now at the Supreme court level. The bakery was in business before the state law went into effect, the intent of some laws are often taken out of context as it was in this case. Any private business can refuse service to anyone of their choosing and is protected by the constitution.

    • I agree with you. We should be able to practice our faith in privately owned businesses. I am not re-newing my NASW membership because of this and their Anti Trump stances.

    • Chris, your reasons for leaving NASW are part of the reason I stopped my membership after 3 decades. The Supreme Court ruling in this case has declared gay rights greater than religious rights. Christians are being slaughtered in the U.S.A. and around the world and some people are upset over a cake. Let’s talk about the truly oppressed peoples.

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