Issues

CNN Host Plans to Use Show to ‘Push for Progress’ After Masterpiece Cakeshop Ruling

CNN host Chris Cuomo said Monday he would use his show to "push for progress" on LGBT discrimination in light of the Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission Supreme Court case.

Cuomo said he would do "white board" segments explaining complex issues in a simple way, and he specifically named the religious freedom case Masterpiece Cakeshop, in which the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that Colorado could not punish baker Jack Philips for not designing a cake for a same-sex wedding. Cuomo described LGBT discrimination as something on which "Congress must act" lest the courts litigate "every different manifestation of life."

"You’re going to see a lot more of these cases," Cuomo said. "Every different manifestation of life is going to wind up being litigated about whether or not people who are gay, in this instance, have the same rights you and I do, and the only way that stops is if Congress acts and makes them a protected class."

He said the question boiled down to whether human rights are truly "universal" or if they do not apply to gay people. In that formulation, Masterpiece Cakeshop is against universal human rights, although this was not what the baker, Jack Phillips, said or what his winning legal team argued.

Phillips won the case based on the Court’s finding that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission punished him because of his religious beliefs, but Cuomo went past that to say that Congress should seek "common ground" by passing a new law. In Cuomo’s eyes, "progress" on LGBT rights through a new law would accord with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s commitment to human rights.

"So, is there really common ground on this, the way the secretary of state said there was this weekend in a tweet, that these human rights are universal rights, that we all believe in them," Cuomo said. "Will they act on common ground? So, we'll be pushing for progress."

Cuomo joined other analysts who described the Supreme Court’s Monday ruling as "narrow" and speculated about future rulings. It’s unclear whether a federal law requiring cake bakers to design same-sex wedding cakes would pass constitutional muster, since the court in this instance ruled against Colorado’s government attempting to compel Philips to design same-sex wedding cakes.

"The laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect gay persons and gay couples in the exercise of their civil rights, but religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression," the ruling says.