Let Them Eat Cake?

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument on December 5th in the highly controversial case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Comm. This case involves Colorado cake ‘artist’, Jack Phillips’ refusal to create a custom cake for a same – sex marriage couple, alleging it conflicted with his religious beliefs. The case has major First Amendment implications involving both free speech and free exercise of religion protections.

Historically, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission found that Mr. Phillips’ conduct amounted to sexual orientation discrimination under the State’s anti-discrimination statute. Colorado’s Court of Appeals disagreed, finding no violation of the First Amendment protections of free speech or free religious expression. Because of the important federal questions and the fact that there is disagreement among the various Federal Courts of Appeal on these issues, the Supreme Court granted Certiorari in June of this year. Dozens of ‘amicus’ or friend of the court briefs have been led by groups from both sides of the argument, including a group of 86 Republican lawmakers such as Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Congressman Mike Johnson on Phillips’ side and Lambda Legal on behalf of the LGBTQ community.

We will update you on the outcome of this significant case once the Court renders its decision. Look for it on our website and blog.

James E. Jaworski is a Partner at Wells, Jaworski & Liebman, who practices primarily in the Land Use and Real Estate areas.

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