TIME Courts

Two Things You Don’t Know About Roe v. Wade That Will Surprise You

New Justices Rehnquist And Powell
Keystone / Getty Images The two new Associate Justices of the US Supreme Court after being sworn in, William Rehnquist (left) and Lewis F Powell, on Jan. 11, 1972

One of these two things changed American politics

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

January 22, 1973 is the date that most associate with Roe v. Wade. That is the day when Justice Harry Blackmun read a summary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe and that of its companion case, Doe v. Bolton. Every year there are demonstrations in Washington on January 22 to commemorate or protest the Supreme Court’s decision recognizing a woman’s right to an abortion.

But there is another date that actually might be far more significant in the history of these decisions: May 25, 1972. That is when these cases should have been decided, and likely were decided, but in a much different form. And if they had come down in May or June 1972, the arc of American politics would have been remarkably different. I argue as much in my new book, January 1973, Watergate, Roe v. Wade, Vietnam, and the Month that Changed America Forever (release date May 1, 2015).

First, let me identify my source. Larry Hammond was Justice Lewis F. Powell’s law clerk at the time Roe and Doe were decided. Hammond, now in his seventies, agreed to talk with me about how the decisions came about and I believe I am the first to interview him with the full benefit of the Powell Papers that were released after Powell’s death in 1998.

Here are the two revelations from these interviews and the Powell Papers that will surprise most people: (1) the justices of the Supreme Court had reached a majority on versions of the opinions that Blackmun first drafted in May 1972—and these drafts would have left it to the states to draw the line as to when life begins; and (2) Justice Powell, not Justice Blackmun, pushed for the “viability” standard that remains the hallmark of Roe forty years later. While Blackmun may have been the author, Powell really was the moving force behind the core principle of Roe.

Let me explain further.

When Roe and its companion case out of Georgia were first argued in the Supreme Court in December 1971, the Court was down two justices. Justices Black and Harlan had both retired (and died) in the fall of 1971 and President Nixon had nominated Lewis Powell and William Rehnquist to take their places. Neither man had been confirmed by the Senate at the time of the first oral arguments in Roe and Doe, so by Court tradition neither could take part in “the Conference” to decide the cases, nor could they vote on the outcomes.

There did not appear to be a consensus at the time of the first Conference on how to decide the abortion cases, so Chief Justice Warren Burger took it upon himself to assign Justice Harry Blackmun, his friend from childhood, to take a stab at first drafts. If Blackmun’s drafts would “command a majority” then those would become the Court’s decisions. Justice William O. Douglas disputed Burger’s assignment to Blackmun and thought he had the right to make the assignment as the most senior judge who, he believed, was in the majority out of the first conference. Douglas, however, let it go after an exchange of some fairly heated notes with the Chief.

Blackmun took his time in drafting. As former counsel to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, his perspective was that of the doctor whose patient seeks an abortion. He wanted to study up on the history of abortion, with a kind of obsessive focus on the Hippocratic Oath (which actually has a proscription against abortions).

Blackmun’s first drafts of Roe and Doe came out in May 1972.

With Roe, Blackmun wanted to overturn the Texas statute as void for vagueness, meaning it was too imprecise to be enforceable. The result would be to turn it back to Texas to redraft a clear statute. On Doe, the more reform Georgia statute from 1968, Blackmun addressed squarely a woman’s right to an abortion. He found there was such a right, but critically, he observed that the Court, at that moment in time, did not have the experience or knowledge to decide “when life begins.”

Thus, given these outcomes, the Supreme Court would have recognized a right to an abortion, but left it to state legislatures to do the line-drawing on when an abortion could be prohibited.

Justice Douglas, for one, believed that a majority of the seven justices who could decide the cases was in place in May 1972. Specifically, on May 25, 1972, Douglas, Brennan, Marshall and Blackmun (4 of 7) all agreed on Blackmun’s drafts. Justice Stewart added his vote in favor by May 29, 1972. (From my perspective, it is fascinating that this all took place just as burglars were first breaking into the Watergate in their political espionage campaign against the Democrats.)

Enter Chief Justice Burger. He was not pleased with the first drafts and pressed Blackmun to “re-argue” the cases, allowing two conservatives, Powell and Rehnquist, to take part. Douglas and the others in the majority exploded—they believed the decisions should have come down and that Burger was playing politics with a partisan issue likely to have some role in the 1972 presidential contest. Douglas’s dissent to re-argument was vitriolic—and never saw the light of day. With Powell and Rehnquist participating, the vote to re-argue carried.

This is when Justice Powell asked his law clerk, Larry Hammond, to take a look at the briefs in Roe and Doe and Justice Blackmun’s first drafts. Hammond did so over the summer of 1972 (as Richard Nixon became mired in the Watergate cover-up). Hammond wrote a 30-page memo for Powell, arguing in favor of the right to an abortion. Powell, when he returned from the summer break, told Hammond that he agreed with him. This was a real surprise. Chief Justice Burger’s push to re-argue was about to backfire.

As the second oral argument drew near in October 1972, Hammond wrote a game-changing bench memo to Powell, pointing out a recent federal court case out of a lower court in Connecticut that had address that state’s abortion statute. In what lawyer’s call dicta (meaning not critical to the opinion), the Connecticut judges argued that the critical line in any pregnancy was “viability,” that is, when the fetus could live outside the womb—roughly the end of the sixth month.

No one argued “viability” in the briefs or in oral argument. Yet it was Powell who gently suggested to Blackmun that the Court consider and accept “viability” as its important dividing line. The Court adopted a three-part test, according to the trimesters of a nine-month pregnancy, but decided that the rights of a fetus were not to be considered until viability. While the other parts of Roe have dissolved, “viability” remains the law today.

I argue in my new book that this controversial change in how the case was decided had a dramatic impact on American politics. The Roe decision activated the so-called Religious Right. But more importantly, because abortion is an issue about which many will not compromise—it is a life and death decision to some—the whole concept of “no compromise” as a political strategy entered our political bloodstream. Along with the other great events of January 1973—Truman’s death, end of the Vietnam War for the US, Watergate burglars’ trial, Nixon’s Second Inaugural, Roe and the death of Lyndon Johnson (on the same day as Roe)—the conditions set up for a government of deadlock.

Checks and balances have become checks.

Obviously history is never quite this clean, but I think it is an important time to look back at this momentous month to start to understand how we got to where we are and perhaps learn how we might all start to get along again for the sake of our democracy and our country. Understanding Roe v. Wade and how it was actually decided is a first step.

James Robenalt is a trial lawyer and author of “The Harding Affair, Love and Espionage During the Great War” (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2009). Robenalt lectures nationally with John W. Dean, former White House Counsel, on Watergate and legal ethics. His latest book is “January 1973: Watergate, Roe v. Wade, Vietnam, and the Month That Changed America Forever.


My Moms Have Been Engaged for 20 Years. We’re Tired of Waiting

Morrison family
Courtesy of author Morrison family—back row from left: Karen, Audrey; front row from left: Jillian, Kinsey, Teagan

Kinsey Morrison is a student at Stanford University and the youngest speaker at the United for Marriage Equality Rally at the Supreme Court on April 28.

"My family is not invisible"

I am the straight daughter of two moms, a Christian gay-rights activist, a proud Kentuckian and a big sister. I hope that very soon, I’ll be a maid of honor too.

Last fall, I moved into my Stanford University dorm on my 18th birthday. Living away from my family and my home state gave me the perspective to realize I had a voice, a story to share and a plea to make for equality. Over Christmas break, I asked my sisters to join me in creating a video in an effort to encourage the Supreme Court to review the Sixth Circuit marriage-equality case that upheld state bans on same-sex marriage. After we posted Sanctity on YouTube, the Family Equality Council contacted me to ask if we would be a part of their “Voices of Children” amicus brief to the Supreme Court. We were thrilled. As my 12-year-old sister said, “All kids learn history. We get to help make it.”

On Tuesday, I will speak at the rally outside the Supreme Court about why I think my parents should be able to get married. While I’m excited to speak, I’m angry that I have to. I’m angry that because my family is still invisible to the judges in our circuit and the voters in our state, this case had to go to all the way to Washington to be resolved. I am angry that every day, people use my own religion to justify their discrimination against my family. I am angry that even if the court does legalize marriage equality, my family will return home to a state where the majority of the residents wouldn’t agree with that decision.

I believe that eventually, Kentucky will change, but I am tired of waiting. My parents have been engaged for 20 years. You can imagine how ridiculous it sounds when people argue that they threaten the sanctity of marriage. They taught me the sanctity of marriage.

I know how fortunate my sisters and I are to have two incredibly dedicated and loving parents. They have not only sheltered and fed us. They have also taught us to be good citizens and to help those who are less fortunate. They have nursed us through sickness, volunteered in our school classrooms, led our Girl Scout troops, coached our softball and field-hockey teams, taught us how to ride a bike, bandaged our skinned knees and created and celebrated family traditions. I think this country would be in a much better place if all parents—gay or straight—were as extraordinary as they are.

We are a family, and always have been. The Supreme Court cannot change that. What they can do is once again set the course of our nation’s history on the right track. They can acknowledge that my family is not invisible, that we count.

I am hopeful that they will. Five years ago I couldn’t have imagined I’d be speaking at the Supreme Court, and that I’d be proud—not scared—to tell my friends about it. Back in middle school, I always said “my parents” instead of “my moms” because I was so afraid to be honest about my family. I never walked into a church without paralyzing fear, feeling like someone might find me out and tell me I didn’t belong. Many of my grade-school friends must have thought “my mom” was Superwoman—a stay-at-home mom and a nonprofit CEO, a softball coach and a Girl Scout leader, a retired teacher and the PTA president—because I tried to make them sound like one person. I am ashamed of myself for that, but I’m also sad that my fear was at least in part justified.

I want to help create a world where no child anywhere ever faces that fear again. My sisters and I are ready to break our silence. We can only hope the Justices will hear us.

For all the week’s news of interest to families, sign up here for TIME’s free weekly parenting newsletter.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.


Gay Marriage Plaintiff: We Want to Be ‘Just Another Ordinary Married Couple’

Thom Kostura and Ijpe DeKoe on their wedding day in New York on August 4, 2011.
Courtesy of the author Thom Kostura and Ijpe DeKoe on their wedding day in New York on Aug. 4, 2011.

Thom Kostura and his husband Ijpe DeKoe are plaintiffs in the Tennessee Supreme Court same-sex marriage case. Kostura is a graduate student and DeKoe is a Sergeant in the Army Reserves.

"We're seeking the recognition that our marriage deserves"

This is the first in a series from Thom Kostura and Ijpe DeKoe chronicling their experiences as the Supreme Court considers overturning state bans on same-sex marriage.

I knew Ijpe and I had made a unique connection when we met 16 years ago. We were working as camp counselors that summer, and we immediately knew that we had found something special in one another. After we left camp, we maintained a close friendship for a decade before acknowledging what we had known all along — we couldn’t be apart. In 2011, while Ijpe was on a three-day pass from his mobilization training in Fort Dix, New Jersey, we were married — dressed in khakis and white T-shirts — in a New York ceremony that wasn’t fancy, but was perfectly us.

We never could have predicted that our marriage and commitment to one another would lead us here: plaintiffs in the Tennessee marriage case that is one of the biggest U.S. Supreme Court cases in history, with millions of people looking to us as the Court prepares to hear arguments on April 28 that could result in a nationwide marriage-equality decision.

While we’ve had months to consider the impact that the hearing and our case will have on our nation’s history, the true reality still hasn’t sunk in for us, even with the hearing only days away.

After a recent talk at the University of Memphis, dozens of people waited in line just to shake our hands. Us. Ijpe and Thom. A couple of guys who decided they needed to stand up for their rights and commitment to one another and challenge Tennessee’s marriage ban. One student even told us that he knew everything about us because he wrote his thesis about our case.

When we decided to get married, we did it for the same reasons that others do. We couldn’t imagine our lives without one another, being there for one another, building a life together, and protecting one another — something that became especially important as Ijpe was set to begin a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan a week after our wedding.

During those months when he was serving the country, I spent every day hoping he was OK and watching the calendar for the date we’d be together again. I couldn’t have been happier when he returned. We were stationed in Memphis, where we began building our lives as a married couple and talking about starting a family.

But soon after moving to Memphis, where I’m a graduate art student and Ijpe is earning a bachelor’s degree while working full time as a sergeant for the U.S. Army Reserve, we realized the extent of Tennessee’s laws that ban marriage equality and prohibit recognition of marriages performed in other states.

In Tennessee, Ijpe and I are considered legal strangers. Roommates. Nothing more, nothing less, despite of and in contradiction to our legal marriage as recognized by the State of New York. This lack of recognition puts the life that we are building together at risk. We are unable to make medical decisions if one of us is injured, and if we were to have children through adoption, Tennessee would not recognize us both as parents. If our parentage is not recognized by the state, medical facilities, daycares, schools, or any other institutions in this state have no legal obligation to recognize it, either. These are just a few of examples of the limbo Ijpe and I are placed in every single day — for no reason other than we happen to be two men who are married to each other.

In 2013, we decided to stand up for our relationship and join two other couples in a legal challenge to the state’s ban. As the case worked its way through the court system, the possibility of a Supreme Court hearing wasn’t on our minds. But as next Tuesday draws near, the magnitude of the event is almost too overwhelming for us to grasp.

When we got involved with this case, we had many serious and lengthy discussion as to the possible impact on our marriage. Would it make us stronger, or force us apart? Would we be up to the challenge of opening up our lives to strangers? Would we be willing to answer hard questions about the validity of our relationship? Ultimately, we decided that the risk was worth the task and that we were willing to do our part. This was our brick in the road. As a result, we have received a wave of support and friendship that we had not expected.

We’ve been frequently asked how our lives have changed since becoming plaintiffs. To be honest, in many ways it hasn’t. Ijpe reports to the base daily for duty and goes to classes at the University of Memphis at night. I’ve spent countless hours preparing for my thesis defense and an upcoming graduating show. Between those obligations we juggle the groceries, car repairs, paying the bills – all of the challenges of living a life together. It’s only now, with the oral argument near and my thesis defense safely behind, that the true importance and bigness of everything is starting to sink in. Recently, Freedom to Marry, an organization that campaigns for nationwide same-sex marriage, presented us with a binder of more than 3,000 personal expressions of thanks and support from people across the country. Wow.

What has also changed is our fundamental understanding of the legal process that the case has gone through and how important our justice system really is. The case has made us very aware of the vast amount of attention that marriage equality has garnered in recent years and the intense legal focus of this debate. Viewing this through the lens of a participant has been much like a workman discovering the inner working of a complex machine. It’s both intimidating and fascinating to learn how valuable our rights are, and, how through the work of so many, they remain protected.

We didn’t start this thinking we would make history. All we wanted was to be recognized as a married couple. We’re not asking anyone to change their minds about marriage. We are both firm believers that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. We don’t believe in subjugating other fellow Americans because they don’t share our same values. Diversity and freedom of expression are what make America a great country.

What we want most in the world is to be recognized for who we are — just another ordinary married couple seeking the recognition that our marriage deserves.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.


These Maps Show Changing Marijuana Laws Across America

Nearly two decades of major change

With April 20, the unofficial holiday celebrating marijuana upon us, here’s a look at the drastically changing American legal landscape for pot users. Data provided by the Marijuana Policy Project and the National Conference of State Legislatures shows just how much of the country’s laws have altered since California legalized medical marijuana in 1996.






Martin Richard’s Teacher: Explaining Tsarnaev’s Sentencing to an 8-Year-Old

Rachel Moo is a second grade teacher. Her former student, Martin Richard, was killed in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Is a strictly punitive response really going to make things better?

A few years ago, when I started teaching second grade, I realized the somewhat lackluster effect that saying “I’m sorry” had when two students were in conflict. I started to implement “action of apology” in my classroom. We generated a list of possible offenses that would cause physical or emotional hurt to a friend, and next to each offense, we wrote down an action – something that the offender would have to do as part of the apology. It helped students reflect on how their actions can affect others, and how saying sorry and showing that you are sorry are two different things.

In 2013, a few months after the Boston Marathon bombings, I received an email from a former student. One of his best friends had just died in that awful event, and he was seeking answers. At the end of the email he wrote, “Miss Moo, what is his action of apology going to be?” My heart broke as I read that question, realizing that this student of mine was going to come face to face with the reality of how our country deals with criminal offenders – and this was one of the worst kinds. That was only the beginning of the questions, most of which I found challenging to answer.

Last Wednesday, I found myself not surprised by the verdict of the trial, but instead thinking about what would happen with sentencing. I received another email from a former student the same day as the verdict, and she wrote, “Miss Moo, I remember when we studied the quote by Martin Luther King Jr. when he said ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ I believe what he said, but what does justice look like now that the bomber is guilty?” Yet another honest, but challenging question from a young, inquiring mind. It gets confusing to think about because everyone has a different idea of what justice looks like in this case.

Gandhi said, “There is a higher court than the courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts.” I recognize that most people do not agree with this idea, but I think that if an offender is given the time to reflect on how one’s actions affect others, and given the chance to reconcile the damage done, it could lead to a more powerful response than some of the existing methods of justice. I firmly believe that one should be held accountable for one’s actions, but is a strictly punitive response really going to make things better?

Here is what I do know: I believe in peace and nonviolence in a world that is overwhelmingly defined by division and violence. For me, true justice won’t exist until there is peace, and I think we are quite a way from being there. Theologian Martin Luther said “Peace is more important than all justice; and peace was not made for the sake of justice, but justice for the sake of peace.” In the case of the marathon bomber, I can’t answer the question of what should happen to him. But I do know an 8-year-old boy who if asked this question would say, “No more hurting people. Peace.”

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.


Timothy McVeigh Lawyer: How Tsarnaev’s Defense Can Save His Life

Stephen Jones is a defense attorney at Jones, Otjen, and Davis. He served as the defense lawyer for Timothy James McVeigh, charged for the Oklahoma City bombing.

It will take only one juror

Judy Clarke and her competent team defending Dzhokhar Tsarnaev must know they face the greatest challenge of their illustrious careers: saving their 21-year-old client’s life from the death penalty. Clarke essentially directed the defendant’s conviction in the Boston Marathon bombing case. The issue to be decided now is whether Tsarnaev will die for his crimes or whether he will be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Clarke and her team give meaning to the Crimes and Offenses Act of 1790 adopted by the first Congress and signed into law by President George Washington. The act committed the United States to recognizing that any individual charged with murder in the federal courts was entitled to “a lawyer learned in the law to make his full defense.” As someone who was appointed by the federal court in Oklahoma City 20 years ago to defend Timothy James McVeigh, charged with the largest act of mass murder in this country’s history, I know that any lawyer who undertakes a similar brief must be willing to recognize the emotional, personal, and financial risks in so doing. But the Constitution requires that commitment of us. There are too many timid lawyers and neglected clients. Judy Clarke and her team honor our profession by their willingness to zealously represent Tsarnaev.

It will take only one juror to save Tsarnaev’s life. However, having defended more than a dozen capital murder cases, I understand that convincing one juror to spare Tsarnaev’s life could be an arduous task. Generally, to be successful in avoiding the death penalty, the defense must convince at least one steadfast juror (preferably more) that the defendant deserves mercy. All the while, the prosecution will interject constant reminders of the defendant’s own merciless acts. For Tsarnaev, Martin Richard, the youngest victim at only 8-years-old, will be strong countervailing force to defense appeals for mercy.

Saving Tsarnaev’s life will not be easy, but it is not without hope. Ms. Clarke’s has already made efforts to secure credibility from the jury, forthrightly admitting in her opening statement at the beginning of the trial, “He did it.” Her legal strategy to save his life became obvious with those early dramatic words.

This also was not a surprise. She is one of the most talented of the criminal defense bar in sparing her clients from the death penalty. In her representation of the Unabomer, Ted Kaczynski, and Jared Lee Loughner, who shot and wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford and killed several others, including a sitting federal judge, she negotiated life without parole sentences with the government. But this was not advocacy before a jury, but instead quiet effective persuasion in prosecutors’ offices.

Her client is young, obviously influenced by his unstable older brother, now deceased. The traumatic, emotional experience in the land of his birth and early years were brutal beyond endurance: primitive living conditions in which every day was a struggle against a background of constant war, conflict, horrific crimes, turmoil, and desperation. She must attempt to convince the jury to understand that life he lived.

Clarke may reflect back on an infamous case which, in its day, was called “The Crime of the Century.” Two men, Richard Loeb (age 18) and Nathan Leopold (age 19), sons of rich families and both extremely successful academically, conceived and executed a plan to commit “the perfect crime” by kidnapping and then killing 14-year-old Robert Frank, a neighbor, chosen at random.

Their lawyer, Clarence Darrow, waived a jury and admitted their guilt before the judge in Chicago. For more than 12 hours spread over two days, he argued that their lives should be spared. There was no rationality in what they had done, he admitted. It was savage, as savage as executing them. But, mercy is a greater virtue than justice. That was Darrow’s theme. His advocacy was successful, and the boys’ lives were spared.

Clarke has two other considerations. How, in logic, can Terry Nichols, one of the two Oklahoma City bombing conspirators, convicted of 160 counts of first degree murder, including the deaths of 19 children under the age of six, be sentenced to life in prison without parole and her client, in comparison, be executed? The political geography of Massachusetts with its strong Catholic and Unitarian ties and official aversion to the death penalty also offers promise.

To be successful and save this boy’s life, she need convince only that one juror, one voice, to hold out for mercy instead of justice.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.


Pizza Shop That Backed Indiana Religious Freedom Law Reopens

Many customers wait for service as Memories Pizza reopened for business ON April, 9, 2015, in Walkerton, Ind.
Tom Coyne–AP Many customers wait for service as Memories Pizza reopened for business ON April, 9, 2015, in Walkerton, Ind.

Shop closed after owner said his religious beliefs wouldn't allow him to cater a gay wedding

(WALKERTON, Ind.) — A northern Indiana pizzeria that closed after its owner said his religious beliefs wouldn’t allow him to cater a gay wedding opened Thursday to a full house of friends, regulars and people wanting to show their support.

“It’s a relief to get going again and try to get back to normal,” said Kevin O’Connor, owner of Memories Pizza.

O’Connor closed the shop for eight days after comments by him and his daughter, Crystal, to a local television station supporting a new religious objections law. The law, which has since been revised, sparked a boycott of Indiana.

O’Connor said the criticism hasn’t changed his beliefs. He said gays are welcome in his restaurant in the small, one-traffic-light town of Walkerton, 20 miles southwest of South Bend, but that he would decline to cater a same-sex wedding because it would conflict with his Christian beliefs.

“I’d do the same thing again. It’s my belief. It’s our belief. It’s what we grew up on,” he said. “I’m just sorry it comes to this because neither one of us dislike any of those people. I don’t hold any grudges.”

A crowdfunding campaign started by supporters raised more than $842,000 with donations from 29,160 contributors in 48 hours. O’Connor said he hasn’t received the money yet, but said he plans to give some to charity and use some money to make improvements to the restaurant.

The 61-year-old father of eight who has owned the restaurant for nine years said he never thought about taking the money and retiring.

“I enjoy it. I don’t want to leave here,” he said. “I want this to be something that my daughter can enjoy.”

Crystal O’Connor said the amount of money was overwhelming.

“We were like, ‘Stop! Stop! Stop!'” she said.

“It was really making us uncomfortable,” her father said.

The restaurant reopened about 4 p.m. Thursday. He says that within an hour, all eight tables were filled and six people were waiting for carryout orders. There were no protests as of 7 p.m.

Jeanne and Ken Gumm from outside LaPorte, about 20 miles northwest of Walkerton, said they had been waiting for the pizzeria to reopen so they could show their support.

“We couldn’t wait to get down here,” said Ken Gumm, 66, a tank truck driver. “To us this whole thing isn’t about gay marriage. It’s mostly about freedom of religion.”

Read next: Why Religious Freedom Bills Could Be Great for Gay Rights

TIME States

Colorado Says Baker Didn’t Discriminate in Refusing to Make Anti-Gay Cake

Bakery owner Marjorie Silva, who refused to write hateful words about gays on a cake for a customer, stands inside her own Azucar Bakery, in Denver, on Jan. 20, 2015.
Ivan Moreno—AP Bakery owner Marjorie Silva, who refused to write hateful words about gays on a cake for a customer, stands inside her own Azucar Bakery, in Denver, on Jan. 20, 2015.

Colorado Civil Rights Division said she was within legal rights to deny cake orders featuring "derogatory language and imagery"

A Colorado government agency has ruled that a baker who refused to make cakes featuring anti-gay messages did not discriminate against the man who requested them.

Last year, William Jack asked Denver’s Azucar Bakery for two bible-shaped cakes featuring images of groomsmen crossed out with a red “X” and phrases like “Homosexuality is a detestable sin. Leviticus 18.2,” local ABC station NEWS7 Denver reports. The bakery’s owner, Marjorie Silva, told Jack she would make the bible-shaped cakes and provide icing for him to add his own message, but she wouldn’t apply such “hateful and offensive” messages because her bakery “does not discriminate.”

Jack complained to the Colorado Civil Rights Division, accusing Silva of denying him goods or services based on his religion. But the agency recently ruled that Silva’s refusal to make the cakes was motivated by the “derogatory language and imagery,” and not because of religious discrimination. “In the same manner [she] would not accept [an order from] anyone wanting to make a discriminatory cake against Christians, [she] will not make one that discriminates against gays,” the ruling stated. Last year, the agency ruled that another bakery in the state could not refuse a gay couple’s request for a wedding cake.

Silva, who is Catholic and whose bakery in the past has made cakes for Christian holidays that featured religious imagery, said she was pleased to learn she was “not [only] morally right but also legally right.”

Jack told 7NEWS that he plans to appeal the decision. “I find it offensive that the Colorado Civil Rights Division considers the baker’s claims that Bible verses were discriminatory as the reason for denying my claim,” he said.



Connecticut Teen Ordered to Stay in Hospital for Forced Chemotherapy

Photo shows Cassandra, a teen who does not want to give her last name, confined in a room at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford, Conn., where she is being forced to undergo chemotherapy.
Cassandra C.—AP Photo shows Cassandra, a teen who does not want to give her last name, confined in a room at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford, Conn., where she was forced to undergo chemotherapy.

Child services to hold teenager in temporary custody until treatment ends

A Connecticut teenager who was ordered to undergo chemotherapy will have to remain in the hospital until the final round of treatment is completed, a local court ruled on Thursday.

The teenager, “Cassandra C,” was denied a motion to visit home after lawyers for child services argued she posed a continuing flight risk, CNN reports.

The 17-year-old made headlines earlier this year when she and her mother mounted a legal defense to refuse treatment, arguing that the chemicals posed a greater threat than the cancer itself. Medical experts disagreed, and the Connecticut supreme court temporarily placed the teenager under the custody of child services.

The teenager is in remission and is expected to receive her final phase of chemotherapy toward the end of April.


Arkansas Gives Final Approval to Religious Freedom Bill

The measure now heads to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has said he will sign it into law

(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — Arkansas lawmakers have given final approval to a religious freedom bill that has drawn sharp criticism from opponents who say it opens the door to state-sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The House voted Tuesday to approve the measure, which prohibits the state and local governments from infringing on a person’s religious beliefs without a “compelling” interest. The measure now heads to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has said he will sign it into law.

If enacted, the move will make Arkansas the second state to enact such a law this year. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a similar bill last week, and 19 other states have comparable measures on the books.

Hundreds of protesters filled the Arkansas Capitol urging Hutchinson to veto the bill.

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