Monday, June 4, 2018

Suprem Court rules for baker in same-sex cake case, but...

The Supreme Court today reaffirmed the core principle that businesses open to the public must be open to all in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. 

The court did not accept arguments that would have turned back the clock on equality by making our basic civil rights protections unenforceable, but reversed this case based on concerns specific to the facts here. 

The American Civil Liberties Union argued the case on behalf of Charlie Craig and David Mullins, who were refused service at a Colorado bakery because they are a same-sex couple.

In 2012, Mullins and Craig visited the Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a cake for their wedding. After the bakery turned the would-be customers away because they were a same-sex couple, Mullins and Craig filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. 

The commission found that the bakery had discriminated against the couple in violation of Colorado law, a decision the Colorado courts upheld. 

The Supreme Court today found that members of the Commission had made statements evidencing anti-religious bias, and thus had not given a fair consideration to the bakery’s claims.

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 LGBT people.

Then, the Court ruled in favor of baker, but didn’t address principle of whether a business can refuse to serve gay people.


  1. SCOTUS actually took a very middle of the road view with this ruling today. The centerists on the court prevailed. Justice Kennedy is seem as the Republican most in favor of protecting the rights of the LGBT community, and he is the once writing the opinion. Two liberal justices (Kagan and Beyer) joined him in his decsion.
    Here is the important ruling per the finding today for LGBT people (from CNN's review):
    First, to be clear, the court reiterated in clear terms that "gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth." And it highlighted the fact that "while ...religious and philosophical objections are protected, it is a general rule that such objections do not allow business owners and other actors in the economy and in society to deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law."
    What SCOTUS did in essence today was to kick this issue down the road. If Justice Kennedy retires and is replaced by a right-wing ideologue, who is willing to take a more firm anti LGBT rights view, SCOTUS could adopt a more hostile rule to LGBT rights in the future.

  2. Thanks for sharing your point of view Eddi, always interesting and well argued, thanks!