Oral arguments in a case which could define religious freedom and change the course of history will be heard by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The justices will decide the constitutionality of Colorado’s public accommodations law that forces baker Jack Phillips to participate in a form of speech that goes against his religious beliefs by making a cake for a same-sex wedding.
A cake is at the heart of the argument, but the fallout from this case could leave a bad taste in the mouths of those who value freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is just one of several wedding vendor controversies moving towards the Supreme Court in the wake of same-sex marriage legalization in 2015.
“This is not about a generic cake someone picks up at Costco,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the right-leaning Judicial Crisis Network, said Monday. “After all, Jack Phillips was willing to sell an off-the-shelf cake to the couple. But the government wanted to unconstitutionally force him to design a custom wedding cake that would promote a message in direct conflict with his conscience and deeply held religious beliefs, even when there were plenty of other businesses with no such conflict who were happy to bake that cake.”
Severino pointed out that the case is not really about the rights of homosexuals. “The Left will try to frame this case as an LBGTQ case but, at its core, it’s about whether or not the government can force or compel an American citizen — protected by the First Amendment—to violate their religious convictions and their right to free speech,” she said.
The American Civil Liberties Union is representing plaintiffs Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins.
“Our clients in the Masterpiece case have already felt the stinging harm of being turned away from a business simply because of who they are, a harm that no one should ever have to endure,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project. “A ruling in this case to give businesses the right to refuse service to customers would shatter longstanding nondiscrimination laws and have wide impacts on religious and racial minorities, single mothers, people with disabilities, and others.”
The Masterpiece case will likely surpass President Trump’s travel ban as the most anticipated case of the Supreme Court’s term. In anticipation of the hearing, people began lining up outside the Supreme Court on Sunday night.
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) December 3, 2017
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