Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
DECISION: June 4, 2018
Supreme Court avoids addressing core question in Masterpiece decision
- Statement of Holly Hollman at the Supreme Court after oral arguments, Dec. 5, 2017
- Cakes and the commercial marketplace by Holly Hollman, September/October 2017
- Nondiscrimination and religious liberty by Holly Hollman, November/December 2017
- Blog post detailing the BJC’s brief by BJC Blogger Don Byrd
- Photos taken after oral arguments concluded on December 5
- Blog post analyzing oral arguments by BJC Blogger Don Byrd
The Baptist Joint Committee filed a friend-of-the-court-brief in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in support of the state of Colorado, explaining how respect for religious liberty requires recognizing diverse religious beliefs and seeking to protect all citizens. The case centers on a commercial baker’s refusal to make a cake for the wedding reception of a same-sex couple, despite state law requiring nondiscrimination in businesses open to the public. The United Church of Christ, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Chicago Theological Seminary also signed the brief.
The brief states, “Public accommodations laws like Colorado’s generally promote religious liberty, by protecting individuals from discrimination on account of their religion. Such laws also promote human dignity, which is itself a religious value, by ensuring that all individuals can access the commercial marketplace on an equal basis. By advancing these compelling interests, public accommodations laws like Colorado’s protect the pluralism that is so vital to American society.” A religious liberty exemption to public accommodations laws should not be granted when the actor is operating in the commercial context and is not required to participate in a religious marriage ceremony.