Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission [SCOTUSbrief]

Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission [SCOTUSbrief]

The case arose when a gay couple approached
Jack Phillips, who is the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, which is a bakery, and asked him
to design and bake a cake for their wedding. He declined, saying that as a conservative
Christian, he had religious convictions against same-sex marriage and he didn’t want to participate
in the wedding. They then filed a charge against Phillips
with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, alleging that he had discriminated against
them in violation of Colorado’s Public Accommodations Law, which forbids discrimination on grounds
of sexual orientation. Masterpiece Cakeshop argues that requiring
it to design and bake a cake for the gay wedding would violate its free speech rights because
it would require the cake shop and the owner, Jack Phillips, to express a message with which
he doesn’t agree, namely a message endorsing same-sex marriage, and also violate his free
exercise rights, because it would require him to engage in conduct that he sees as immoral
according to his religious scruples. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission argues
that forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has nothing to do with
either free speech or the free exercise clause as they should be interpreted. This case is about the ability of a business
to decline to provide services that it says make it complicit in activities that it doesn’t
condone. The best argument for Masterpiece Cakeshop
is that there have been a number of Supreme Court cases involving the First Amendment
which say that the government cannot compel someone to speak a message that he doesn’t
agree with. And the Supreme Court has been very lenient
with regard to defining religion. Basically, it defers to individuals when they
say that their religious beliefs require or forbid certain activities. The best argument for the Colorado Civil Rights
Commission is that forbidding discrimination, in this case, doesn’t implicate free expression
at all. And the reasoning is this: When a baker provides a cake for a wedding
as part of his commercial activities, no one really thinks that the wedding cake expresses
the baker’s own views. If anything, the cake expresses the customer’s
views. So really, what they’re saying is, in this
context, it’s not right to think of Jack Phillips as a speaker at all, and therefore his expression
really isn’t being forced in this case. If the court rules in favor of the Colorado
Civil Rights Commission, that would suggest that businesses do not have a right in their
commercial activities to refuse to provide services for conduct that they say violates
their own religious beliefs. Now, this will only involve commercial activities. The case is not going to address the ability
of religious institutions, for example, churches or mosques, uh, not to participate in certain activities
or to express certain viewpoints. If the court rules in favor of Masterpiece
Cakeshop, it would suggest that religious people do not have to express approval for
things they don’t approve, as the price of doing business. It wouldn’t mean that they would have a general
right to discriminate against customers. For example, against gay people. In fact, in this case, Masterpiece Cakeshop
said it was quite willing to serve gay people, it just didn’t want to participate in a same-sex


  1. Post
  2. Post
    Turd Ferguson

    Colorado Civil Rights Commission claim that as part of a commercial activity, no one really thinks that the cake expresses the bakers own views, rather it expresses the views of the customer. If true, the Customer must prove no selection bias towards artistic ability or aesthetic qualities of baker based on past work/portfolio, that the decision is purely technical proficiency and economic value. Moreover, would anyone actually believe that the works of Renaissance artists Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Donatello, et al. had nothing to do with the individual views and interpretations of the artist and only to do with those that commissioned the works? TMNT notwithstanding, the ones that commissioned the works should be the household names, not artists, after all it was their views that were most important.

  3. Post
  4. Post
  5. Post
    Sam Lucky

    The court will be considering the case between Masterpiece Cake Shop and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission NOT between Jack Philips and the Colorado CRC. So yes, In fact, the cake itself as an immediate service product sold by the business, does represent Masterpiece Cake Shop and it’s values. Therefore Masterpiece Cake Shop has the right (yes, just like citizens do) to not be forced to condone any practices such as same-sex marriage.

  6. Post
  7. Post
    Malini S ; Lawyer for Mr.Phillips say the same Colorado commission ruled for a baker who refused a conservative Christian who wanted an Anti Same sex message on a cake.

  8. Post
    Bob Smiley

    How will the SCOTUS decision affect Youtube and Facebook ? Will they be able to block/censure customers for views that they don't like or must they take all 'speech' without their current discrimination against conservative points of view? It appears that you can't have it both ways. As a public business you must then be governed by the SCOTUS decision. You must take all input or only the liberal propaganda you like or all opinion and input without regard to your leftist commie point of view. This is further reaching that a bakers rights. LET THEM EAT CAKE or censor at will.

  9. Post
  10. Post
  11. Post
    BRAEDEN Rustici

    Masterpiece Cakeshop was completely within their rights to deny service to that couple. Masterpiece Cakeshop has the right to loose their business to other competitors who are open to baking for gay couples and Cakeshop also has the right to go bankrupt, however Government has no right to force a private business to trade with someone they do not wish to trade with.
    Example: Should the Government force a black man or woman who own a bakery to bake cakes for a white person who want a cake of a white man lynching a black man?
    Or force a Jewish baker to bake a cake with Swastikas on it?
    This would be a violation of the bakers freedom and if this case is voted in favor of the couple, Americans should protest.

  12. Post
  13. Post
    Practice Run Studios

    So when he design a cake that doesn't require an ounce of expression on his part? The real question is if art is a form of expression. If so, then I would do the exact thing that he did.

    If he was a hair stylist, I would agree with the courts. If he was a lawyer, I would agree with the courts. Serving a professed homosexual as either of the two would not violate the Bible principles. However, why would be agree to craft something he does not agree with for the sake of earning a couple extra dollars? Shame on him for having values and defending them?

  14. Post
    Nicholas Barfield

    The baker is discriminating against an event, not people.
    He's willing to serve gay customers, just not for the particular event.

  15. Post
    Alex Sterling

    So if the baker didn't "believe" in interracial marriage because of his religion would that be ok. No. Open and shut case. You provide a public service, you serve the public.

  16. Post
    Brandon Baas

    For some businesses, service involves a consultation. Hearing and denying the customer’s request should not be labeled as discriminatory, whereas refusing to consult with a certain people group in a fair manner should indeed be recognized as discrimination.

    In a free country, bakeries are never forced to make any cake. Luckily for the customer, if for some reason one baker refuses to bake something, there are several different bakeries competing for business.

  17. Post
    Jerry Krause

    Interesting enough, at the same time the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the above Colorado baker's case it let stand a Texas ruling that said the right to a marriage license did not entitle same-sex couples to spousal benefits under employee insurance plans. See,, its Status page. On the same page you find the link to the entire transcript of the above mentioned oral arguments.

  18. Post
    Edward Terry

    The anti-discrimination law requires you to serve all people. It doesn't require that you tailor-make products for all events.

  19. Post
    Turd Ferguson

    Piss Christ is Art but a Wedding Cake is not?

    A frequently offered critique regarding this case is the notion that the baker does not have a 1st Amendment right to "control" his speech by not making the cake. There's nothing artistic about making a cake. The Supreme Court has recognized that there is the common literal speech (assembly, petition, press) as well as expressive speech. This is a more interpretive/symbolic form of speech, such as burning a flag, taking a knee or designing architecture. So if tax payer dollars can be used to subsidize the creation and display of a crucifix in a jar of urine not protected by 1A rights of the Creator, you're going to have a hard time convincing me that a wedding cake is not an artistic endeavor.

  20. Post
    Terry Dibble

    You can't force the man to do it if they want a gay marriage story let's hear about a gay divorce that at least would be interesting who would get what

  21. Post
    Eric Toribio

    What is this twisted point of view that he is participating or speaking at the wedding? Did they make him bake a cake that says "gay marriage is awesome!"? He didn't even let them tell him what they wanted. The customers are gay and want a cake for their wedding. A service he provides for straight people, but denies to gay people. Also, the other twisted narrative that he doesn't serve the "gay wedding" ceremony doesn't sound so good for him either, because who are the people asking for "gay wedding cakes"? Gay people, more proof he broke the law.

    I loved how during the oral arguments Breyer suggested they can't go through all food items and determine which ones are "artistic speech" and which ones are not. The case is basically a waste of time. So they either allow everyone to use "religion" as a gapping hole to every anti-discrimination law or just have people obey the law as it is written. There's nothing in Colorado's anti-discrimination law saying he can't practice his religion. I don't know why it was so hard for the baker to just be a nice person and make the cake.

    Everyone saying they should have gone somewhere else (which they did) simply say it because they believe gay people are beneath everyone else. You wouldn't want what happened to them to happen to you for something as natural as falling in love.

  22. Post

    Look I’m for the support of LGBT rights much of the time. But this is not the way to do it. Let me posit a question to anyone who would be on the couple’s side of the argument. If the government has the power to force a conservative Christian baker to compromise his beliefs to suit the needs of another party, wouldn’t that also give the government power to force a gay man to compromise his beliefs (say, being forced to divorce his husband) based solely on the complaints of another party? This is not an easy issue for me but if you can’t buy a cake from a bakery, go to another bakery. Forcing others to ascribe to your viewpoint does not solve problems either side of this argument is facing. Think about it.

  23. Post
  24. Post
  25. Post
    Annabelle Rankin

    Christians aren't free to change what God has told them to believe.  This couple maliciously targeted the bakeshop knowing that the Christian owner would not be able to fulfil their request.  A business that is a private enterprise SHOULD NEVER be compelled to serve someone they do not want to.  Remember the signs saying 'We reserve the right to refuse service' in restaurants?  What has happened to the individual's liberty to live his life as he believes without interference from the State?  Laws that are ambiguous should not be made or should contain a conscience clause.

  26. Post
  27. Post
    Jerry Krause

    Also, Jack no more should be expected to created a cake that he does not otherwise provide, than a Muslim operated Mexican taco restaurant should be made to make "pork" tacos that it otherwise does not provide.

  28. Post
    Ken Warren

    During the oral argument, Kagan's, Sotomayor's and Breyer's purpose is only to use up as much of the attorney's time as possible so she can't give her argument which they can't defeat. Search Masterpiece caskshop

  29. Post
    william Dawson

    Can the law compel a BBQ sandwich maker to serve a customer in a way that would violate his sincerely held religious belief about serving minorities?

  30. Post
    BeFirm BeFair667

    All ought to be concerned when the government compels individuals to go against their conscience.

    Let the baker have his rights. Let the public vote with their dollars.

  31. Post
  32. Post
    william Dawson

    How is this case ripe for "speech" or "compelled speech" when Masterpiece told the couple it did not make wedding cakes of gays before it knew and still does not know what decorations (if any) were requested for the cake?

  33. Post
    Natasha Paige Cortez

    Would people in favor of this "Must bake a gay cake" thing… Also be in favor of a Jewish painter being forced to paint Adolf Hitler?

  34. Post
    rita pita

    Firstly I'm a Christian I don't have a problem in the world with gays I don't have a problem in the world with them getting married at all! But just as restaurants have a right to refuse service to someone if you're not dressed appropriately it's their right to refuse service for any reason at a restaurant they can say you're drunk and I know people will say well being drunk or dressed inappropriately is not the same as gay what I'm saying is a service provided can be refused to anybody. That's what makes America great freedom of religion! Now I say this and I'm sorry for the suffering for the couple and what they've been through but let's also look it the suffering this man in his family's been through with his faith being persecuted for his faith.

  35. Post
    rita pita

    This is not a civil rights case. In America businesses can choose to serve whomever they wish, for whatever reason. Businesses can flourish or fail in America because of this. If we take away this basic right for America and everyone must be treated the same then it becomes a dictatorship.

  36. Post
    Monica Andrade

    This problem could have been non existent is the wacko who made homosexuality have never been born, and we would not have gay and lesbian people in the way.

  37. Post

    You have a right to practice your religion. You don’t have a right to practice your religion on someone else. this christian, like every other christian involved in this case is ignoring one little, important nagging point. Bigotry against LGBTQ is not in any way a part of Jesus teachings. Using your “religious beliefs” as an excuse for intolerance and bigotry might seem righteous, but it is really an insult to everything Jesus teaches. There is something very wrong with taking away spreading the gospel by example, and instead using your faith as a weapon of example against others. This man may have emboldened many of those who are already christians, but has certainly embarrassed many more, and driven off those who would otherwise find comfort and understanding in this man’s so-called christianity.

  38. Post
  39. Post
    Ron Young

    This is not a civil rights case. This is a case of a gay couple trying to force their beliefs on everyone else, and trying to punish those who disagree with them.

  40. Post
    David P

    Once a customer Requests or Commissions any special requirement upon the vendor, "choice" is not solely at the discretion of the customer, but becomes the discretion of the vendor.

  41. Post

    Allowing businesses to discriminate may place unnecessary burden to those who are discriminated. When a citizen is denied accommodation in an establishment and is forced to look for other establishments where he will be served then that citizen is unwillingly losing valuable time and money. That's financial harm. When denied public accommodation, they are forced to look for other establishments that will offer them the services they seek. In rural areas, this may mean travelling to far places which certainly costs more time and money. When individuals are unwillingly losing valuable time and money just to look for establishments where they will be not denied service because of their marginalized status then the government has the duty to step in and stop this from happening. In addition, Businesses do not operate completely off the grid. They use, rely on, benefit from taxpayer-funded resources (i.e. public roads, public utilities, police, fire fighters). And since homosexuals and same sex couples are also taxpayers, that means the resources businesses use are reliant on those who business owners wish to discriminate against. It is unfair to deny services or goods to people without whose taxes businesses could not operate.

  42. Post
  43. Post
    Z. O.

    Actually before they filed they complained on social media first, which led to cowards calling and harassing both him and his family.
    They're assholes! Douchbags of the Century!

  44. Post
    Oot spagoot

    You forgot to mention that Phillips had offered them a list of people who would do it, and offered them other foods. This also happened before gay marriage was legal in Colorado.

  45. Post
    Steve P

    I support the right of the baker to not participate however there should be a law mandating you to place a large sign on the door of your business stating who and under what circumstances you will not serve someone. No hidden discrimination. No cowardice. Tell the truth and allow all customers to vote with their dollars at all times. I personally would not patronize a business who discriminates base on race or orientation or event and I'm a white hetero male. Be brave, state your veiws plainly for all to see and react to. How about the death of a gay partner, the death of a same sex couples child. I want 95% of your business but want to leave you high and dry when it suits my sensibility. BS

  46. Post
  47. Post

    100% in favor of the cake shop. You can't be forced to use artistic expression, celebrate or participate in an event, or send a message you disagree with. This is way beyond the scope of original public accommodations. This is compelled speech and wrong.

  48. Post
    B K

    Pretty clear the baker did something illegal here, that’s not a question.

    Now whether the anti discrimination law is constitutional is the question. I’d argue it’s constitutional, as the same “religious freedom” argument was made for anti-interracial marriage, Jim Crow, and even slavery.

  49. Post

    Decent folks dont have to patronize this type of radicalized religious business run by religious extremists. Let them cater to their own anti-American ilk.

  50. Post
  51. Post
  52. Post
  53. Post
    Soraya Esfandiary

    I'm so tired of gays bullying Christians and trying to impose their lifestyle onto others. They talk about love all the time, but they're the most hateful and intolerant group in the USA.

  54. Post
    Paul From Canada

    This guy created cakes from his heart. He doesn’t just whip them together to make a buck. He puts his heart into it. He enjoys being part of the celebration of love. He just doesn’t feel that for gay marriages. Doesn’t he have the right to feel that way? He wasn’t rude or hateful he just expressed how he honestly felt. He could of just put together some ordinary cake with no heart in the design and made a few dollars.

  55. Post
    Todd Peissig

    The Supreme Court has legalized discrimination today. Just wait to see what a slippery slope this will create. Civil rights have been set back 100 years. Anyone can discriminate against anyone now as long as they say it is against their religion. So I as an atheist can now legally discriminate against Christians. COOL ! ! ! ! ! ! !

  56. Post
    Todd Peissig

    The Supreme Court has legalized discrimination today. Just wait to see what a slippery slope this will create. Civil rights have been set back 100 years. Anyone can discriminate against anyone now as long as they say it is against their religion. So I as an atheist can now legally discriminate against Christians. COOL ! ! ! ! ! ! !

  57. Post
    thomas thorne

    Then companies need to post their Religion on the door so people would know. Hey, we don't cater to gay people.

  58. Post
  59. Post
    Agustin Garduño

    Come on! There are tons of bakers… Why forcing a person to do your cake? Show some tolerance and respect!

  60. Post
    David M. Evans

    This is actually a HUGE ruling. This story shines the light on how Liberals think. That you have to accept them or you are going to be sorry. The Supreme Court said that the Colorado Court acted hostile towards the baker. The Colorado Court acted with a bias towards the baker (hard to comprehend the Colorado Court had to be reprimanded like this). The gay couple could have been adult and realistic about it and just gone to another baker, BUT NO!!! They had to act hostile and sue the baker, and all the way to the Supreme Court… Such a vindictive act. The gay couple was so offended that they were going to make this simple baker "pay" for not accepting them for being gay that they decided to punish the baker for essentially having his own counter beliefs. This gay couple didn't care if the baker was offended. The Supreme Court stated that the gay couple needs to be tolerant of the bakers views and opinions and his religious beliefs as well. That tolerance is a two way street, Kapish??!!! The gay couple expected and demanded their opinions and beliefs to be accepted, respected, and tolerated yet they would not accept, respect, and tolerate the bakers religious beliefs. This is why people can't and don't want to get along with those with such extreme beliefs and behavior. Everyone needs to tolerate others even if the other person is a jerk, nasty, or wrong. True adults don't act so poorly which shows you, those that do, are not adult regardless of their age.

  61. Post
    Harry CallahanX

    To Christians weddings is a religious activity & making a cake would make him a willing participant.

  62. Post
  63. Post
  64. Post

    It was a ruling made on very narrow grounds. At best, it said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission acted unequally towards the baker. While conservatives (especially American Evangelical Christians) treat this as a victory, it didn't address whether individuals have the right to decline services to LGBT individuals based on their religious convictions.

  65. Post
    lupe Lopez

    Mostly ignorant people in the comments. Want to make the U.S. great again? Deport the motherfuckers who don't deserve any of our constitutional rights. Racists, sexist, homophobic, and any closed minded idiot that can't accept someone for being human. BYE BYE!

  66. Post
  67. Post
  68. Post

    What is wrong with this sentence: "Masterpiece Cakeshop argues that requiring it to design and bake a cake for the gay wedding … "?
    1) There's no such thing as a "gay wedding." There's no such thing as a "gay-wedding cake." There are weddings. There are wedding cakes.
    Gay people get married exactly the same as straight people do. Same requirements (consenting adults, not closely related, etc.), same documents to complete and sign, same fee paid, same need for an officiant who must complete the marriage license and return it to be recorded.
    Straight couples buy wedding cakes. Gay couples buy wedding cakes. They differ between each other in the same way straight married couples' do: personality of the couple, cost, etc.
    2) Jack Phillips, the baker, refused any and all cakes to the gay couple (actually, he previously had denied wedding cakes/cupcake to six gay couples). He refused to design and bake a wedding cake for the gay couple. He refused to sell them a nondescript or already-designed cake if it would be used for their wedding.

  69. Post
    Michael M

    Chapter 1

    26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

    27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

    29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

    30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

    31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

    32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    Bless you

    All glory to

  70. Post
    Wartime Christian

    The baker is right. If I'm a super Christian, Muslim, etc and see a cake with a rainbow flag sitting on the counter I have the right to walk out and not do business with that company based on support for groups I don't agree with. So why does he have to suffer to support ideas he doesn't rock with or want his business to rock with

  71. Post
    Karina Herrera

    Gay couple is bullying that is not discrimination… go to another bakery is called capitalisimn doesnt care about your color,sex or creed they want the cash

  72. Post
  73. Post
    desi derata

    There is a chasm between God and sexually-permissive homosexuals. The Bible even has verses narrating homosexuality and punishments accorded to them.
    When angels came to talk to Lot, the homosexuals saw the good-looking angels and demanded that they be sent out and that they may have sex with them. Lot instead sent out his rebellious sexually-promiscuous daughters to the homosexuals, who physically hurt them.

  74. Post
    david loya

    im all pro gay wedding, they can do with their lives whatever the want, but the cakeshop owner is in his right to refuse to make a cake if he dont want to.

  75. Post
    Taylor Manes

    Quit glorifying Jack Phillips. He is nothing more than a Christian Bigot who hates gays. He has more in common with Hitler than Christ.

  76. Post
    Prince Leo

    Whatever happened to freedom of speech and expression? I’m serious America has some of the whiniest, sensitive crowd today. This is coming from an American citizen born and raised.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *