Masterpiece Cakeshop c. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Masterpiece Cakeshop c. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is a pending case before the Supreme Court of the United States is whether creative businesses can refuse some services due to Their First Amendment rights of free speech and free exercise of religion in light of public accommodation laws-in Particular, by Refusing to Provide creative services, Such as a custom wedding cake for same-sex marriage ceremonies, on the basis of one’s religious beliefs. The Court took oral arguments on December 5, 2017, with a decision likely to be made by the end of the court’s October 2017 term at the end of June 2018.


In July 2012, same-sex couple Charlie Craig and David Mullins from Colorado made plans to be legally wed in Massachusetts and return to Colorado to celebrate with family and friends. At that time, Colorado did not recognize same-sex weddings, but since 2014, the state of the marriages, and the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) that marriage is a fundamental right that extends to same-sex couples. [1]

Craig and Mullins visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver to order a wedding cake for their return celebration. Masterpiece’s owner Jack Phillips, who is Christian , declined, informing the couple that he did not create wedding cakes for the same-sex marriages due to his religious beliefs. [2] [3] : 1-2 Craig and Mullins left the store without discussing details of the cake design. [3] : 2 The following day, Craig’s mother called Phillips, who told her that he does not make wedding cakes for same-sex weddings. [3] : 2While Reviews another bakery Provided a cake to the couple Craig and Mullins filed a complaint to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission under the state’s public accommodations law, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, qui prohibits businesses open to the public from discriminating contre Their customers on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. [4] [2] Colorado is one of twenty-one US states that have anti-discrimination laws against sexual orientation. [5] Craig and Mullins’ complaint resulted in a lawsuit, Craig v. Masterpiece Cakeshop . [6]The case was decided in favor of the plaintiffs; the marrying cake, but to “change its company policies, provide comprehensive staff training” come into compliance and whether it has turned away any prospective customers. ” [7]

Masterpiece appealed to the decision of the Alliance of Defending Freedom , and refused to comply with the State’s orders; [4] Phillips claimed that this decision cost him 40% of his business. [8] Alongside the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the American Civil Liberties Union represented Craig and Mullins during the appeals. [2] The State’s decision was upheld by the Colorado Court of Appealson appeal. In its decision, the Colorado Court of Appeals asserted that despite the artistic nature of creating a custom cake, the act of making the cake was part of the expected conduct of Phillips’ business, and not an expression of free speech nor free exercise of religion . [4] [9] The Court of Appeals distinguished icts decision in Craig from Reviews another box in qui three bakeries refused to create a cake with the message “Homosexuality is a detestable sin. Leviticus 18: 2” [3] : 21Cakeshop’s refusal to provide Craig & Mullins with a wedding cake because of its opposition to the cakery. the same sex marriage which … is tantamount to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. ” [3] : 21

The Supreme Court of Colorado . [9] : 3

Supreme Court

Masterpiece Cakeshop petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari (review), under the name Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission , of the following question: [10]

Whether Applying Colorado’s public accommodations law to compel Phillips to create phrase That Violates His Held sincerely religious beliefs about the wedding Violates Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment . [9]

Both the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) urged the Supreme Court to reject the appeal, fearing that a Court of Appeal would create a “gaping hole” in civil rights laws on the basis of religion . [4] The final briefs at the certiorari stage were received in December 2016. [10] The Court agreed to hear the case in the 2017 term [11] and oral arguments were heard on December 5, 2017. [12]

In further filings, Masterpiece requested that the Colorado anti-discrimination law be reviewed by the Supreme Court under strict scrutiny . He further identified that while the state is to ensure that same-sex couples, the law goes too far in its enforcement, since Craig and Mullins were able to obtain a wedding cake from a different vendor in the state easily. [13] Masterpiece further alleged anti-discrimination law may be used to discriminate against religion, but the Commission has said that it is not the case. appropriate to the offensiveness of the message and not on the basis of religion.[13] The State and the ACLU countered these points, stating the law is a business conduct, and their case is a wedding cake. to a gay couple as an expression of its approval of the customer’s marriage “. [13] They provide further guidance that they may provide guidance in the context of anti-discrimination law. [13]

Around 100 legal briefs are filed by third parties. [12] Among those supporting Phillips include the United States Department of Justice under the Trump Administration . [14] [5] While the Department asserts that anti-discrimination laws are necessary to prevent and with these expressions without the ability for the business to assert they do not agree with those expressions. [13] The brief was criticized by several groups, including those that supportLGBTQrights, see the case of anti-LGBTQ actions by the current administration and fearing that a decision in favor of Masterpiece would enable such businesses to have a “license to discriminate”. [14] [15]

Oral arguments for the plaintiffs were provided by Kristen Wagoner for the Alliance Defending Freedom, representing Phillips, and the Solicitor General of the United States Noel Francisco , presenting the United States’ government case as amicus curiae in support of Masterpiece Cakeshop. The defendants’ arguments were given by Colorado Solicitor General Frederick Yarger, on behalf of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and David D. Coleof the ACLU, on behalf of Craig and Mullins. Questions involving the causes of the problem of sexual and gender-based discrimination in the context of sexual and racial discrimination . [16]

Experts believe the Supreme Court’s opinions in the case will be divided, with the ultimate decision falling on the opinion of Justice Anthony Kennedy , who has historically been a supporter of same-sex rights and free speech, and who had written the majority opinion for Obergefell . [5] [17] [18] [19]

See also

  • Sweet Cakes by Melissa
  • Burwell c. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. – US Supreme Court decision-making is a restrictive way of doing business.
  • Arlene’s Flowers Lawsuit – A Washington State Supreme Court decision in February 2017 that ruled that flower arrangements were not a form of protected speech.


  1. Jump up^ Barnes, Robert (June 26, 2017). “Supreme Court to take one box baker Who refused to sell wedding cake to gay couples” . The Washington Post . Retrieved June 26, 2017 .
  2. ^ Jump up to:c Parloff, Roger (March 6, 2017). “Christian Bakers, Gay Weddings, and Question for the Supreme Court” . The New Yorker . Retrieved June 27, 2017 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:e Craig v. Masterpiece Cake Shop et al. , No. 14CA1351 (Col. Ct of App August 13, 2015)
  4. ^ Jump up to:d Savage, David (June 26, 2017). “Supreme Court will hear case of Colorado baker who refused to make wedding cake for same-sex couple” . The Los Angeles Times . Retrieved June 26, 2017 .
  5. ^ Jump up to:c Savage, David (September 12, 2017). “Colorado cake maker asks Supreme Court to provide a gay liberty right to refuse gay couple” . The Los Angeles Times . Retrieved September 14, 2017 .
  6. Jump up^ “Judge orders christian baker to bake gay wedding cake.Will he say no?” . Christian Science Monitor. December 7, 2013 . Retrieved June 6,2015 .
  7. Jump up^ “Charlie Craig and David Mullins v. Masterpiece Cakeshop” . August 13, 2015.
  8. Jump up^ Roberts, Roxanne (November 30, 2017). “Wedding cakes can be stunning creations.” But do they qualify as art? ” . The Washington Post . Retrieved December 1, 2017 .
  9. ^ Jump up to:c “Petition for a Writ of Certiorari” (PDF) . Retrieved 16 April 2017 .
  10. ^ Jump up to:b “Docket No. 16-111 for box” . Supreme Court of the United States . Retrieved 16 April 2017 .
  11. Jump up^ from Vogue, Ariane; Diaz, Daniella (June 25, 2017). “Supreme Court agrees to hear religious liberty case next term” . CNN . Retrieved June 25, 2017 .
  12. ^ Jump up to:b Wolf, Richard (November 2, 2017). “Free speech v. Same-sex wedding case floods high court” . USA Today . Retrieved November 14,2017 .
  13. ^ Jump up to:e Howe, Amy (September 11, 2017). “Wedding cakes v. Religious beliefs ?: In Plain English” . SCOTUSblog . Retrieved September 14,2017 .
  14. ^ Jump up to:b S.M. (September 8, 2017). “The Department of Justice backs a baker who refuses to make a gay wedding cake” . The Economist . Retrieved 12 September 2017 .
  15. Jump up^ Moreau, Julie (September 11, 2017). “Department of Justice ‘s Gay Rights Brief Slammed by Advocates as’ License to Discriminate ‘ ” . NBCNews . Retrieved September 11, 2017 .
  16. Jump up^ “Live Coverage: Supreme Court Hears Same-Sex Wedding Cake Case” . The Wall Street Journal . December 5, 2017 . Retrieved December 5, 2017 .
  17. Jump up^ Liptak, Adam (September 16, 2017). “Cake Is His ‘Art.’ So Can He Deny One to a Gay Couple? ” . The New York Times . Retrieved September 18, 2017 .
  18. Jump up^ Hurley, Lawrence (September 27, 2017). “No matter how you slice it, US jurist Kennedy key vote in cake box” . Reuters . Retrieved September 27, 2017 .
  19. Jump up^ Howe, Amy (7 December 2017). “Argument analysis: Conservative majority leaning toward ruling for Colorado baker (UPDATED)” . SCOTUSblog . Retrieved 7 December 2017 . With Kennedy seemingly holding the key vote, the couple and their supporters at first appeared to have reason to be optimistic.

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