The United States Supreme Court announced that it will hear the case of a baker based in Colorado who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
The case is now pending before the Supreme Court of the United States on whether creative businesses can refuse certain services based on their First Amendment rights of Lydia Macy, 17, left, and Mira Gottlieb, 16, both of Berkeley, Calif., rally outside of the Supreme Court which is hearing the ‘Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission’ today, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) While sexuality is a protected characteristic under anti-discrimination laws, there are no such protections for homophobia.
According to The Journal, the complainant had insisted: “Why should the law favour people of a gay orientation and not deal with me the same way? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” The bakery had long maintained that the case was frivolous and that the order was primarily rejected as there was no vacancy for bespoke cakes.
The newspaper notes that the “lengthy, oppressive and aggressive communications” from the complainant had impacted staff at the bakery. The ruling hinged on the idea that a cake for Miller is an “artistic expression”, and therefore something akin to speech. The court specified that if it had been a “retail tyre shop” refusing to supply tires to a same-sex couple, anti-discrimination laws would have applied.
Equally, a cake prepared earlier would not have qualified — this is why Jimmy Kimmel’s skit on the subject had a waiter offering a lesbian dinner one of yesterday’s salads. But because a custom-made wedding cake is a form of “expression”, obliging Miller to fill the order would constitute “compelled speech”, and so violate her rights under the free speech clause. While another bakery provided a cake to the couple, Craig and Mullins filed a complaint to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission under the state’s public accommodations law, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits businesses open to the public from discriminating against their customers on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
Colorado is one of twenty-one U.S. states that have anti-discrimination laws against sexual orientation. Craig and Mullins’ complaint resulted in a lawsuit, Craig v. Masterpiece Cakeshop.
The case was decided in favor of the plaintiffs; the cake shop was ordered not only to provide cakes to same-sex marriages, but to “change its company policies, provide ‘comprehensive staff training’ regarding public accommodations discrimination, and provide quarterly reports for the next two years regarding steps it has taken to come into compliance and whether it has turned away any prospective customers.”