On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard the Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case. Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop, is a devout Christian who, by adhering to the teachings of the Bible, refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding. He did not do so for discriminatory reasons, rather, he wanted to uphold his religious beliefs and refrain from taking part in a homosexual marriage, as it is his right.
During the hearing, Colorado Solicitor General Yargar defended the state’s law prohibiting refusal of service on the basis of race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. However, the Supreme Court has previously held that no one can be forced to speak, and there are various forms of speech. The state of Colorado argued that baking a cake, although it is an artistic expression, is different.
U.S. Solicitor General Noel Franks argued for Phillips stating that Colorado’s Public Accommodations Law infringed upon Phillips’ First Amendment rights. Franks argued that the law forces Phillips to engage in a form of expression against his will.
Justice Kagan began questioning Phillips’ lawyer, Kristen Waggoner of Alliance Defending Freedom. Kagan proposed a hypothetical situation in which a baker refuses to serve an inter-racial couple and asserted that this situation would be no different from the one being discussed. However, Phillips is not refusing the couple because of the their sexual orientation, but rather the refusal is because the cake is specifically for a homosexual wedding. There is a key difference. Phillips said that if the cake was not for their wedding, he would absolutely serve them.
In short, no one has the right to the service of another. The gay couple does not have the right to a cake from Masterpiece Cake Shop, but Jack Phillips does have a right to maintain his religious convictions and First Amendment rights in general.