Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued rulings on several cases. However, a ruling on the Masterpiece Cajeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission was not one of the rulings announced. The LGBT community is watching carefully for how the nations highest court will rule and is one that will shape the future of LGBT equality in the United States. The next possible day for a ruling will be Monday, June 4th.
The owner of a bakery called Masterpiece Cakeshop, Jack Phillips, told a gay couple in 2012 that he would not sell them a wedding cake because he does not design cakes for gay weddings.
The couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission arguing that Phillips violated Colorado law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
State courts agreed with the couple but Phillips has appealed the decision, saying that baking is a form of artistic expression, and that if he were compelled to bake a cake for a gay couple, it would violate his First Amendment right to freedom of religion.
The Trump Justice Department has sided with Phillips in the case, arguing that because of the symbolism a wedding cake has as part of marriage ceremony, it constitutes an artistic expression that should be protected as freedom of speech.
The case has also drawn attention from dozens of First Amendment, religious freedom, and LGBTQ advocacy groups who have filed amicus briefs arguing on behalf of both sides.
The court’s decision in this case could have implications for freedom of speech and anti-discrimination laws alike because the justices will have to rule, not only on whether a wedding cake is protected speech, but on how states should enforce anti-discrimination laws that could be seen as infringing on speech.