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This essay should be about four to six pages long (without including title page and list of cited references).  This essay prompt asks that you engage in a reflection about the course’s contents (no library research is needed; engaging only with the textbook’s contents and other course materials is required).  You must:

a] Read the New York Times article, “In Narrow Decision, Supreme Court Sides With Baker Who Turned Away Gay Couple” (see the folder Recent Press Articles of Interest at the Student Resources link). Briefly summarize the case.

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b] Read the New York Times article, “British Jury Delivers First Conviction for Female Genital Cutting” (see the folder Recent Press Articles of Interest at the Student Resources link). Briefly summarize the case.

c] Use as many specific concepts and contents (no vague reference accepted) from this course to develop a sophisticated discussion of the significance of these two cases when considered together.  Indeed, they contrast meaningfully: the first case is decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of a religious perspective abd belief system at the detriment, perhaps, of “individual sexual rights,” while the second could be seen as promoting individual rights by limiting the reach of religious and cultural traditions–some of which are criminalized by law (female genital cutting).  In this section of your essay, you should engage in a discussion of all aspects of the contrast made by the two cases (two NYT articles) and the beliefs in the existence of supernatural forces/beings each are grounded on.  You should focus on what you find most relevant in the development of your sophisticated argument, FROM AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE.  This means that I am not looking for you to attempt to simply write a summary of the legal arguments presented only.  YOUR DISCUSSION MUST ENGAGE WITH COURSE CONTENTS, and as you know, this is not a legal studies course, but a course that could be identified as belonging to the subfield called “the anthropology of religion.”  That argument should make as many relevant references to the course’s contents as possible.  This section of your essay may not focus on one of the articles only.  It must focus instead on the significance of the contrast between both cases.

Your accurate utilization of course contents in the development of a well-constructed argument will be the major criteria used to evaluate your essay. 

You must use the Author-Date Chicago Manual of Style (see the Student Resources link) to cite your written sources (including the textbook) and list your references cited at the end of your essay.


Your essay must have a brief introduction, and must end with a list of cited references.

You must submit your essay as a Word file.

This assignment is graded according to your ability to identify and articulate an argument about the central focus of the essay (the significance of the contrast between the two cases referred to in the two NYT articles, marshal evidence from the course’s materials to support the sophisticated argument you develop, as well as to show your ability to follow directions, present accurate information and cite examples from the texts that you paraphrase. Finally, this assignment will be graded on your demonstrated ability to adequately understand  anthropological explanations and adhere to the rules of English grammar.  For this assignment, I look for whether you have developed a sound argument and whether you have constructed logical paragraphs that explain how the examples you have chosen support your statement about the question’s focus/target.

You are advised to take a look at the grading rubric below.  It should further explain what the professor is looking for.

11/15/18, 2(51 PMIn Narrow Decision, Supreme Court Sides With Baker Who Turned Away Gay Couple – The New York Times

Page 1 of 7https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/04/us/politics/supreme-court-sides-with-baker-who-turned-away-gay-couple.html

By Adam Liptak

June 4, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of a Colorado baker

who had refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple. The court’s decision was

narrow, and it left open the larger question of whether a business can discriminate

against gay men and lesbians based on rights protected by the First Amendment.

The court passed on an opportunity to either bolster the right to same-sex marriage

or explain how far the government can go in regulating businesses run on religious

principles. Instead, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s majority opinion turned on the

argument that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which originally ruled against

the baker, had been shown to be hostile to religion because of the remarks of one of

its members.

At the same time, Justice Kennedy strongly reaffirmed protections for gay rights.

“The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further

elaboration in the courts,” he wrote, “all in the context of recognizing that these

disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere

religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek

goods and services in an open market.”

In Narrow Decision, Supreme Court Sides With Baker Who Turned Away Gay Couplehttp://www.nytimes.com/by/adam-liptak

11/15/18, 2(51 PMIn Narrow Decision, Supreme Court Sides With Baker Who Turned Away Gay Couple – The New York Times

Page 2 of 7https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/04/us/politics/supreme-court-sides-with-baker-who-turned-away-gay-couple.html

Justice Kennedy often casts the deciding vote in closely divided cases on major

social issues. When the court agreed to hear the Colorado case last June, it seemed to

present him with a stark choice between two of his core commitments. On the one

hand, Justice Kennedy has written every major Supreme Court decision protecting

gay men and lesbians. On the other, he is the court’s most ardent defender of free


On Monday, Justice Kennedy chose a third path, one that seemed to apply only to the

case before the court.

Writing for the majority in the 7-to-2 decision, he said the Civil Rights Commission’s

ruling against the baker, Jack Phillips, had been infected by religious animus. He

cited what he said were “inappropriate and dismissive comments” from one

commissioner in saying that the panel had acted inappropriately and that its

decision should be overturned.

“The neutral and respectful consideration to which Phillips was entitled was

compromised here,” Justice Kennedy wrote. “The Civil Rights Commission’s

treatment of his case has some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility

toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated his objection.”

That passage echoed his plea for tolerance in his majority opinion in 2015 in

Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

In that decision, he called for “an open and searching debate” between those who

opposed same-sex marriage on religious grounds and those who considered such

unions “proper or indeed essential.”

When the Colorado case was argued in December, Justice Kennedy seemed

frustrated with the main choices available to him and hinted that he was looking for

an off ramp. His questions suggested that his vote had not been among the four that

had been needed to add the case to the court’s docket.https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-111_j4el.pdfhttps://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf

11/15/18, 2(51 PMIn Narrow Decision, Supreme Court Sides With Baker Who Turned Away Gay Couple – The New York Times

Page 3 of 7https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/04/us/politics/supreme-court-sides-with-baker-who-turned-away-gay-couple.html

The breadth of the court’s majority was a testament to the narrowness of the

decision’s reasoning. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Stephen G.

Breyer, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Elena Kagan and Neil M. Gorsuch joined Justice

Kennedy’s majority opinion. Justice Clarence Thomas voted with the majority but

would have adopted broader reasons.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, dissented.

The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, No. 16-111,

arose from a brief encounter in 2012, when David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited

Mr. Phillips’s bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, in Lakewood, Colo. The two men were

going to be married in Massachusetts, and they were looking for a wedding cake for

a reception in Colorado.

Mr. Phillips turned them down, saying he would not use his talents to convey a

message of support for same-sex marriage at odds with his religious faith. Mr.

Mullins and Mr. Craig said they were humiliated by Mr. Phillips’s refusal to serve

them, and they filed a complaint with Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission, saying

that Mr. Phillips had violated a state law barring discrimination based on sexual


Mr. Mullins and Mr. Craig won before the commission and in the state courts.

The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that Mr. Phillips’s free speech rights had not

been violated, noting that the couple had not discussed the cake’s design before Mr.

Phillips turned them down. The court added that people seeing the cake would not

understand Mr. Phillips to be making a statement and that he remained free to say

what he liked about same-sex marriage in other settings.

Though the case was mostly litigated on free speech grounds, Justice Kennedy’s

opinion barely discussed the issue. Instead, he focused on what he said were flaws in

the proceedings before the commission. Members of the panel, he wrote, had actedhttp://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/16-111-op-bel-colo-app.pdf

11/15/18, 2(51 PMIn Narrow Decision, Supreme Court Sides With Baker Who Turned Away Gay Couple – The New York Times

Page 4 of 7https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/04/us/politics/supreme-court-sides-with-baker-who-turned-away-gay-couple.html

with “clear and impermissible hostility” to sincerely held religious beliefs.

One commissioner in particular, Justice Kennedy wrote, had crossed the line in

saying that “freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of

discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the


Justice Kennedy wrote that “this sentiment is inappropriate for a commission

charged with the solemn responsibility of fair and neutral enforcement of Colorado’s

anti-discrimination law.”

In dissent, Justice Ginsburg said that a few stray remarks were not enough to justify

a ruling in Mr. Phillips’s favor.

“What prejudice infected the determinations of the adjudicators in the case before

and after the commission?” Justice Ginsburg asked. “The court does not say.”

Justice Kennedy wrote that the commission had also acted inconsistently in cases

involving an opponent of same-sex marriage, “concluding on at least three occasions

that a baker acted lawfully in declining to create cakes with decorations that

demeaned gay persons or gay marriages.”

11/15/18, 2(51 PMIn Narrow Decision, Supreme Court Sides With Baker Who Turned Away Gay Couple – The New York Times

Page 5 of 7https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/04/us/politics/supreme-court-sides-with-baker-who-turned-away-gay-couple.html

In dueling concurring opinions, two sets of justices debated how central that last

observation was to the court’s decision. Justice Kagan, joined by Justice Breyer, said

such differing treatment could be justified. Justice Gorsuch, joined by Justice Alito,

disagreed, saying that “the two cases share all legally salient features.”

In another concurring opinion, Justice Thomas, joined by Justice Gorsuch, said he

would have ruled in favor of Mr. Phillips on free speech grounds. Mr. Phillips’s cakes

are artistic expression worthy of First Amendment protection, Justice Thomas

Protesters outside the Supreme Court after the ruling, which one gay rights group said “offered dangerous encouragement to those who would deny civil rights to L.G.B.T. people.” Tom Brenner/The New York Times

POLITICS POLITICS | In Narrow Decision, Supreme Court Sides With…https://www.nytimes.com/https://www.nytimes.com/pages/politics/index.htmlhttps://www.nytimes.com/https://www.nytimes.com/pages/politics/index.html

11/15/18, 2(51 PMIn Narrow Decision, Supreme Court Sides With Baker Who Turned Away Gay Couple – The New York Times

Page 6 of 7https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/04/us/politics/supreme-court-sides-with-baker-who-turned-away-gay-couple.html

wrote, and requiring him to endorse marriages at odds with his faith violated his

constitutional rights.

In dissent, Justice Ginsburg disagreed with that analysis and noted that the majority

had not adopted it. She wrote that there was no reason to think that people seeing a

wedding cake made by Mr. Phillips would understand it to be conveying his views on

same-sex marriage.

Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Mr. Phillips, said the ruling was a

victory for religious liberty.

“Government hostility toward people of faith has no place in our society, yet the State

of Colorado was openly antagonistic toward Jack’s religious beliefs about marriage,”

said Kristen Waggoner, a lawyer with the group. “The court was right to condemn

that. Tolerance and respect for good-faith differences of opinion are essential in a

society like ours.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Mr. Mullins and Mr. Craig,

said it welcomed the parts of the majority opinion that reaffirmed legal protections

for gay men and lesbians.

“The court reversed the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision based on concerns unique to

the case but reaffirmed its longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of

discrimination in the marketplace, including against L.G.B.T. people,” said Louise

Melling, the group’s deputy legal director.

Some gay rights groups took a darker view of the decision. “The court today has

offered dangerous encouragement to those who would deny civil rights to L.G.B.T.

people,” said Rachel B. Tiven, the chief executive of Lambda Legal. “We will fiercely

resist the coming effort that will seek to turn this ruling into a broad license to


11/15/18, 2(51 PMIn Narrow Decision, Supreme Court Sides With Baker Who Turned Away Gay Couple – The New York Times

Page 7 of 7https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/04/us/politics/supreme-court-sides-with-baker-who-turned-away-gay-couple.html

Even as she dissented, Justice Ginsburg wrote that “there is much in the court’s

opinion with which I agree,” quoting several passages reaffirming gay rights


“Colorado law,” Justice Kennedy wrote in one, “can protect gay persons, just as it can

protect other classes of individuals, in acquiring whatever products and services

they choose on the same terms and conditions as are offered to other members of the


Follow Adam Liptak on Twitter: @adamliptak.

A version of this article appears in print on June 4, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Justices Favor Baker in Case

On Gay Rights

READ 3497 COMMENTShttps://twitter.com/adamliptak

1/26/20, 10(28 AMBritish Jury Delivers First Conviction for Female Genital Cutting – The New York Times

Page 1 of 2https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/01/world/europe/female-genital-mutilation-conviction-britain.html?searchResultPosition=4

By Palko Karasz and Anna Schaverien

Feb. 1, 2019

LONDON — A woman in London was convicted on Friday over the genital cutting of her daughter, becoming

the first person to be successfully prosecuted under the country’s law banning the practice.

The 37-year-old woman was found guilty of committing female genital cutting in August 2017, when her

daughter was 3. The girl’s father, 43, was cleared of charges. Neither parent was identified because of

reporting restrictions placed on the case.

“Female genital mutilation has an appalling physical and emotional impact on victims that usually lasts their

entire life,” said Lynette Woodrow, a deputy chief crown prosecutor, in a statement. “A 3-year-old has no power

to resist or fight back.”

A jury in London heard the girl was “deliberately cut and her injuries amounted to F.G.M.,” the statement from

prosecutors said, referring to female genital cutting, the practice of a girl’s genitalia being cut and removed.

The mother, originally from Uganda, where the practice is also illegal, claimed her daughter’s injuries were

caused when she fell from a kitchen counter onto an open metal lined cupboard door. None of the medical

experts who testified supported that assessment, the prosecutors said. The statement did not describe the

woman’s possible motives.

The girl was taken to a hospital and lost a significant amount of blood because of her injuries, jurors were told,

according to the BBC.

“I come before thee today with tears in my eyes, fear in my heart,” the woman wrote in her diary, according to

prosecutors. “My mother, I made a choice in my life. With that choice I could be going to jail.”

Aisha Gill, a professor of criminology at the University of Roehampton, said in a phone interview that the

verdict was “significant because it sends out a message to affected communities that these kinds of harmful

practices will not be tolerated.”

Calling it “a landmark case,” she added, “We need to see that the law will be operational and effective to

enable victims to come forward when necessary.”

British Jury Delivers First Conviction for Female Genital Cuttinghttps://www.nytimes.com/https://www.nytimes.com/by/palko-karaszhttps://www.nytimes.com/by/anna-schaverienhttps://www.cps.gov.uk/london-north/news/mother-first-be-convicted-female-genital-mutilationhttps://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-47094707

1/26/20, 10(28 AMBritish Jury Delivers First Conviction for Female Genital Cutting – The New York Times

Page 2 of 2https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/01/world/europe/female-genital-mutilation-conviction-britain.html?searchResultPosition=4

Female genital cutting has been illegal in Britain since 1985, but previous prosecutions have led to acquittals,

according to news reports. Globally, at least 200 million survivors of the practice live with the scars of cutting,

according to the World Health Organization.

In the United States, genital cutting has been banned since 1996. But in a ruling last year on the first case in

the country, a federal judge in Michigan said that the law was unconstitutional and that the practice was a

matter for states to regulate.

Advocates in Britain welcomed the decision on Friday.

“Survivors of F.G.M. now see that people will take them seriously,” said Leyla Hussein, a founder of the Dahlia

Project, which provides therapy for survivors. “The victim got justice, but she still has to live with F.G.M. like

so many of us.”

Next week, the House of Commons in Britain’s Parliament will consider an amendment to the Children Act of

1989 that would give the authorities greater abilities to protect children from female genital cutting before

cases go to trial, as they currently have to prevent forced marriages.

The judge in the mother’s case warned of a “lengthy” jail term as she remanded the woman into custody, the

BBC said. The court set a sentencing date of March 8.https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-protection/female-genital-mutilation/com/2017/06/10/health/genital-mutilation-muslim-dawoodi-bohra-michigan-case.html?module=inline”>https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/10/health/genital-mutilation-muslim-dawoodi-bohra-michigan-case.html?module=inlinecom/2018/11/21/health/fgm-female-genital-mutilation-law.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FFemale%20Genital%20Cutting&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=collection”>https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/21/health/fgm-female-genital-mutilation-law.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FFemale%20Genital%20Cutting&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=collectionhttps://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/childrenact1989amendmentfemalegenitalmutilation.html

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