The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case in December about a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple's wedding because the service would violate his religious views. Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission inspired Bill Smith Jr., head chef at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill, to sign a "friend of the court" brief, submitted by the Human Rights Campaign, to show his support of gay rights. Staff writer Ashley Peterson spoke to Smith Jr. about why he chose to get involved.
The Daily Tar Heel: What are your personal views on the supreme court case and the "friend of the court" brief you signed?
Bill Smith Jr.: Well, first of all, lawyers put together the brief. It was a friend of the court, an amicus brief. Lawyers prepared the brief, it was all in "legalese," so that wasn’t my doing. This bakery in Colorado should be required to serve everyone if they’re open for business. It’s sort of the same thing as when you go back to segregation in the South, the idea is that either you’re open for business or you’re not. You shouldn’t be able discriminate for any reason. I agree with it in principle, but I didn’t do the writing of the brief itself.
DTH: In your opinion, why is this a pivotal case?
BS: Well, it’s just the one that came, it’s the one that made it all the way to the court, as much as anything. I sort of felt all this stuff had been settled already with the marriage, and the military. I would have thought that would have cleared up everything, being able to get married and be in the military and all that. But they’ve sort of, I don’t know, found another angle to come at it. I grew up with these people, so I know all about this crap. I grew up in eastern NC in the 50s, so I shouldn’t be surprised when these things pop up. But anyway, they have, and I’m just trying to fight back.