The Masterpiece Cakeshop Case: What You Need to Know

Five years ago, Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig walked into Masterpiece Cakeshop, a Lakewood, Colorado, bakery to purchase a cake for their wedding reception. But the bakery’s owner refused to serve them solely because they’re a same-sex couple.

Colorado courts found that the bakery discriminated against Dave and Charlie, violating a state law that says businesses open to the public can’t turn away customers based on sexual orientation. Now, the bakery is asking for a “constitutional exemption” —permission to violate the state law based on the owner’s objection to serving gay people.

Here are three things to know about the case, which will be heard by the Court on December 5.

Is the bakery’s argument new? 

No. In the 1960s, Piggie Park barbecue restaurant argued that its owner’s religious beliefs meant it could refuse to serve Black customers. In the 1970s and 1980s, schools claimed that they should be allowed to pay women less than men based on the belief that men should be the head of the household. Time and again, courts have recognized that religious views, no matter how deeply felt, don’t entitle any of us to discriminate. The same is true today.

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Does this violate the bakery's First Amendment rights?

No. The Colorado anti-discrimination law doesn’t tell the bakery how to make its cakes. What it says is that if the bakery chooses to sell cakes, it can’t refuse to sell them to certain people based on their sexual orientation. The ACLU is proud to defend the First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion. But religious freedom doesn’t give anyone the right to discriminate. If it did, any business would be free to discriminate against almost any of us — members of minority faiths, women, racial minorities, LGBT people — solely based on the owner’s views.

What’s at stake in this case?

This fall the Supreme Court will decide whether businesses that open their doors to the public have a constitutional right to discriminate.

People have deeply held beliefs about all kinds of things. If those beliefs gave anyone the right to discriminate, a tailor shop could refuse to alter a business suit for women, or a bus company could refuse to drive people of different faiths to work. If the bakery has a constitutional right to discriminate, then today it’s Dave and Charlie, tomorrow it could be you, your family members, your friends and your loved ones. Any of us could be turned away simply because of who we are.

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Anonymous

Oh please - nobody disagrees with your right to exist and if anything this has caused more traffic and not less past this shop. This is really about whether or not an individual by way of having a business to make a living is going to be forced to support an event (Not a person) that goes against their religious principles. This isn't about their taking rights away from others as much as it is about forcing them to support an act they find as sinful and especially by using their artistic talent in the supportive effort. This has never been about discrimination, but about the left forcing their views on others.

Mike Clasing

What kind of business do you run Liane?

Patty Walsh

Masterpiece Cake Ltd. denied service to customers in violation of state law. Jack Philips forfieted his right to object when he created the entity Masterpiece Cake Ltd. This corporation has no grounds to object to providing service since corporate entities do not have a religion.

Anonymous

Hobby Lobby put to rest the idea the owners of businesses give up their religious rights.

Rick

This is a free-market society. If you don't want to sell something to someone, that's your right. If you think there's a market for that (allegedly) under-served group, open a store down the street and advertise to that group. If they flock to your store, and boycott the first store, good for you. Government doesn't belong in my private business, unless they own a piece of it. The ACLU ought to save its time and money for real causes, and this couple should have saved us all the tax money government agencies have spent on court costs. They could have made their feelings known to just as many people with social media, and let people vote with their wallets.

MIKAL_ROBINS

I wonder if the ACLU will take the case and argue as forcefully if a white-pride group wants to have a black-owned bakery decorate a custom cake that depicts white-pride? Or a Muslim-owned bakery decorate a custom cake that has the star of David and the words "Long Live Israel" on the top? I am betting not.

Cammy

This case really angers me & I think Mullins & Craig are pieces of pure GARBAGE. They have basically destroyed this mans business that he has worked a lifetime for as well as effecting the lost jobs of past employees. These 2 disgusting men believe THEIR rights are more important than others & believe they can FORCE their lifestyle on others. I'm sure they even have family members who don't accept them, yet, they set out to ruin another person. Don't give me the crap that they are standing up for all the other gays, bullsh%t. They had the choice to go to any number of other bakers & they are despicable for pursuing this nonsense. I was not against homos, but this case has definitely turned me into never supporting their causes. I don't support anyone, or any group that feels they are entitled to special treatment & scream the loudest about it while hurting others. Why cause so much grief for all parties (except the scum the pursued the case). It's like kids on playground, one isn't invited to play on a team, yet they want to force the kids to accept the baby crying about it. Grow the F up & live your own life, again, instead of ruining others. Frankly, I don't believe that they are all born that way, that's pure nonsense also. I have a family a lesbian family member who I have discussed this case & others with many times & she also believes the 'gay boys' are wrong. These freaks expect that everyone accept their lifestyle, yet, they CANNOT ACCEPT THE BAKERS RELIGIOUS BELIEFS. How fkn hypocritical & arrogant can these guys be? I will tell you I absolutely do not believe all the freaks that have come out of the woodwork that say there are now 14 or 21 or 24 different genders now, pure BS. Those are lifestyles, not genders, just freaks IMO. Many of these freaks also change what they claim to be depending on the day. I don't care what you feel about my opinions, there is truly something wrong with a transgender who supposedly lives life as a man but has sex like a woman, gets pregnant & gives birth. You can't have it both ways, either you live as a male, or you live as a female so stop the fkn madness. But we are all suppose to accept that crap as well, plz. But the disturbing ACLU is out there defending those freaks as well. Back to this case, I hope these men have tragedy in lives for setting out to destroy another when they simply just had to choose another baker. Put these men under a microscope & I'm sure there are people, places, attitudes etc they don't like & choose not be around, but that's for them, just not others. The biggest item they FAIL to see, is this is a mans religious belief & they can't understand that concept!! Screw those guys & grow up. Life is full challenges, they cannot have everyone like whether it's because of the sexual orientation, their looks, the way the dress, their ideals etc it's what makes us individuals & they aren't able to cope with it the disgusting babies. If someone doesn't like me for whatever the reason, I ignore them & don't throw temper tantrums running to the teacher crying. That's what it boils down to at a very basic level & I pity them & those who support these scum. Instead, they want to claim glory, fame & financial benefit all while having the absurd ACLU support them. The ACLU is such a pathetic group fighting for all the wrong causes instead of actually helping this country.

puppylover19

I think that this case was blown way out of proportion. They could have just gone to another shop that would make a cake for them. I know that what the baker did wasn't all that nice, and their feelings got hurt which probably didn't feel good. But when you come out, you know that some people aren't going to agree with you but that was risk you took willingly. Not only that, at least the baker didn't yell at them, or demand that they get out of his shop. This case is based upon hurt feelings, but don't people get their feelings hurt everyday? It's just that this particular set of hurt feelings got the new's attention.

rain and more rain

My opinion on this topic is that it was mean to deny a wedding cake to a pair of gay couples because i understand they felt discriminated . However i do agree somewhat with the cake shop owner because he shouldn't be forced to do a cake for a gay couple which is braking his religion and if you think about it ,its just religion nothing else.

Anonymous

i agree with puppylover 19

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