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Kennedy a Toss-Up in Masterpiece Cakeshop Case

Kennedy a Toss-Up in Masterpiece Cakeshop Case

In the first, which the Supreme Court considered this morning, the Colorado Civil Rights Division ruled that a cake shop could not refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, calling it discriminatory, because its refusal was based upon the sexual orientation of the customers.

Charlie Craig (L) and Dave Mullins.

If you win, Kennedy asked Solicitor General Noel Francisco, could the baker put a sign in his window: "We do not bake cakes for gay weddings?"

The case will have its most direct impact on the approximately 22 states that bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by establishments that do business with the public.

One other possible result that emerged from the argument is that the justices could return the case to the Colorado commission for reconsideration if the court finds its first decision was tainted by the religious bias of a commissioner.

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More than two years ago, Kennedy penned the Supreme Court's opinion clearing the way for same sex marriage.

The Texas court basically found that while gay marriage is now the law of the land in all states, that doesn't necessarily entitle gay couples to the same benefits of marriage as hetero couples, particularly pointing to someone's ability to receive insurance through their partner's employment.

Because same-sex marriage was not yet legal in Colorado in 2012, Justice Samuel Alito noted, Craig and Mullins could not have obtained a marriage license where they lived or gotten a local official to marry them.

Phillips at that point took his case to the Supreme Court and the judges consented to take it up in the wake of reflecting on it for a little while. "I don't feel like we requested a bit of workmanship, or for him to create an impression, we essentially approached him for a cake, and he denied that to us just due to our identity". Liberty and equality are mutually reinforcing values, and both are weakened when they are placed at odds.

The conservative members of the court appeared to be more receptive to the argument that Phillips, who describes himself as a "cake artist", should not be forced to create something that conflicts with his religious beliefs. Not only did the court rule in her favor, it established a rigorous standard for reviewing these types of claims asserted by religious minorities, relying in part on the high standards used in race discrimination cases. While she argued that the free exercise clause forbids the commission from targeting Phillips "and like-minded believers for punishment", she reserved the bulk of her brief for the free speech clause, perhaps targeting Kennedy, who has at times shown an expansive view of free speech. The couple was Wednesday in MA and hosted a wedding reception in Denver one year before gay marriage was legal across the U.S. They wanted a cake from Masterpiece Cakeshop, where Phillips decorates cakes for weddings, graduations and other celebrations. They said the court has never recognized what they call a constitutional right to discriminate.

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The couple is being represented in court by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Cole said that whether a cake is an artistic expression is not at issue. These laws serve as a critically important check against discrimination by businesses, employers, landlords, others; without such protections, individuals or groups-especially those outside the mainstream-would not be able to fully participate in civil society, and would be vulnerable to unjust persecution and harassment at every turn.

Colorado is among only 21 states with statewide laws barring discrimination against gays in public accommodations.

The Trump administration sides with Phillips in the case, arguing that it falls "within the small set of applications of content-neutral laws that merit heightened scrutiny" from the courts.

"Artists shouldn't be forced to express what the government dictates".

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